Still Time to Catch TFA’s Play about Mother Jones

Posted: October 26, 2011 at 1:02 am, Last Updated: October 25, 2011 at 3:34 pm

If you can’t wait for the February on-campus performance of the Theater of the First Amendment (TFA) production “Can’t Scare Me, the Story of Mother Jones,” you can still catch  the show before its run concludes Oct. 30 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center’s Sprenger Theatre in Washington, D.C.

The presentation is the world premiere of Kaiulani Lee’s one-woman play about labor and community organizer Mother Jones, who was called “the most dangerous woman in America” for her work in the early 20th century to organize mine workers against mine owners. Mother Jones “educated, agitated and organized” on behalf of child laborers, coal miners, steel workers and all working people. Through an artful blend of history, biography and a liberal dose of Mother Jones’ famous wit, “Can’t Scare Me” brings out some urgent rhymes of yesterday and today.

“Mark Twain says that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme,” according to Mother Jones, as brought to life by OBIE Award winner Lee in this work about the formative days of the American labor movement.

The play was recently favorably reviewed in the Washington Post.

Directed by Rick Davis, who is also Mason associate provost for undergraduate education and co-artistic director of TFA with playwright Heather McDonald, “Can’t Scare Me, the Story of Mother Jones” brings together a creative design team that includes set design by Luciana Stecconi; costume design by Howard Vincent Kurtz, Mason associate professor of theater; lighting design by Timothy Chew, Mason associate professor of theater; and sound design by Mark Anduss. David Elias serves as stage manager.

Lee has worked in theater, film and television for more than 35 years, starring in more than a dozen plays on and off-Broadway. Her television work includes guest performances on “Law & Order,” “The Equalizer,” “Tales from the Dark Side” and “The Waltons.” She also starred as Martha Ballard in the PBS film “A Midwife’s Tale.”

Lee was nominated for the Drama Desk Award on Broadway and won the OBIE Award for outstanding achievement off-Broadway. She also received an honorary doctorate from Bowdoin College for her contribution to and excellence in the performing arts.

Lee has been touring the United States for more than 10 years with “A Sense of Wonder,” her one-woman show about writer and environmentalist Rachel Carson.

TFA works with the region’s best professional theater artists and Mason students and graduates to present compelling new works and adaptations. Another TFA presentation of “Can’t Scare Me, the Story of Mother Jones” will take place at TheaterSpace on the Fairfax Campus on February 17, 2012.

This production is supported in part by generous contributions from the Arts Council of Fairfax County.

Tickets can be purchased online at or in person at the Atlas Box Office, 1333 H Street NE, Washington, D.C. Phone 202-399-7993.

Write to gazette at