8/4/2013 8:14 PM
Opposites tyrannize Amanda. As the central figure in Sarah Treem's A Feminine Ending, Amanda finds that the territories of male and female encompass every aspect of her life. In her childhood Amanda took refuge in music, reframing her parents' fights into duets. Pursuing a career as a composer, she dismays to realize that male composers laughably outnumber females, and even the beginnings and endings of compositions fall into male and female categories. Male beginnings and endings fall on stressed beats of a musical measure, whereas females fall on unstressed, 'weaker' beats.
While the tug-o-war of gender underscores the play, Amanda's life unravels. Her pop star fiancé places their relationship on the back burner, her mother entangles her in the difficulties of her parents' marriage, and she regresses to the greener pastures of her high school boyfriend. Amidst this, Amanda wrestles her true obstacle: She fears she cannot create music, and her anger over sexism only masks this fear.
The language and action of this play include nothing extraneous. Treem weaves music throughout, as Amanda plays the piano and oboe, but also as she describes her life through the lens of music. Amanda ultimately understands that music allows her to embrace her femininity.