Kirsten is an educator and theatre director. She’s happily married with two kids. When Hillary Clinton loses the 2016 election to Donald J. Trump, Kirsten is compelled to contemplate the world in which her kids will grow up. It spurs her to activism.
As a point of inspiration, she conjures up the goddess Columbia, an original, female, personifying symbol of America (much as France is personified by Marianne and the United Kingdom is personified by Britannia). Although largely forgotten today, except as the logo of a motion picture studio, Columbia was a powerful symbol of America in the first 150 years of its existence, of a free country with liberty and justice for all. When Kirsten takes a deeper dive into history, however, she discovers that the image of Columbia has been subverted, for example, when it was used to promote the white supremacist doctrine of Manifest Destiny, forcibly removing American Indians from their ancestral lands; and, sixty years later, to promote the agenda of the Ku Klux Klan.
Kirsten may have to look at the history of earlier generations of her own family to find out whether they were involved in an unsavory chapter of American history. She’s aware of her own privilege ,but wants to participate in creating a better world for her family and her community. How does she accomplish that without falling into the trap of becoming the White Savior? She may have to look inside, to expunge herself of her own unexamined racial biases and misogyny.
So, in the end, is Columbia our Lady Liberty, or is she just a Lady LiberTease?
Written and performed by Kirsten Laurel Caplan. Directed and developed by Jessica Lynn Johnson. Produced by Living Up to Your Laurels and Soaring Solo Studios.