We Can Do It! by Kenady Sean is a half-hour hybrid musical set in 1941 “the short time when wonen ran the world”, celebrating those who could “do it all”.
Streamed from the Titmus Theatre, this show follows Daphna King (Kaylee Killingsworth), a Cherokee Rosie the Riveter, as she raises a family and joins the steel workers while the men are at war.
We see performers on a screen who are also involved in this musical, while a couple of actors (Killingsworth and Sean herself) appear love – one in the 40s, one acting as musician and narrator.
The screen part of the hybrid show would work better for online audiences with a more close-up approach to filming; here, we have just one static camera from far away.
“I wish there was a recipe for bring a wife”, muses Daphna, “I wish I coukd have both wit and grace”.
This musical has plenty of ideas, from a radio bulletin on Pearl Harbor to a backdrop of women acting as a virtual chorus (“we are women in a man’s world”).
We Can Do It celebrates how wonen of this era found they could take on work and careers as well as family (my gran, born in 1916, worked in a munitions factory, for example), and how, briefly, this gave them purpose.
Director Sienna Riehle somehow pulls all this together, including a section on pioneering women in World War II, which documents those who did work outside of their traditional roles.
However, with the suffragettes at the turn of the 20th century and the women driving buses in the 1926 General Strike in the UK, it seems as if 1941 was just a continuation of women taking charge, not an aberration.
Find out more about the National Women’s Theatre Festival and their live and virtual programmes on their website.