Jennifer Joplin's "The MILF Also Rises" at StateraCon in NYC

The Statera National Conference has become known as a treasure trove of solo work by women artists. This year is no different. We’re excited to tell you about The MILF Also Rises by Jennifer Joplin.

“Jennifer Joplin's one-woman show The MILF Also Rises is an incredibly intimate hour of bare-all truth-telling that is both genuinely funny as well as thought-provoking. There are three things she knows for certain: She has a vagina, likes drinking — maybe too much — and in the end, we all die. No one makes it out alive.” - City Beat

MILF Banner.png


StateraArts: Your piece "The MILF Also Rises" examines the balancing act between who you thought you were going to be and who who've become. Tell us about inception of this piece.  

Jennifer Joplin: Or the balancing act between what I thought this show was going to be and what it’s become.  This piece started as – believe it or not – a writing dare!  I challenged a friend to join me in submitting something to the Cincinnati Fringe Fest to encourage him to create for himself what he wasn’t getting from his career in that moment. I had been thinking for months about speaking to the fact that many of my 30-40 something straight, white, male friends seemed to trust me, turn to me with concerns and questions, especially in light of the “Me Too” movement. I had become a bit of a Sherpa to this demographic and thought that was what I would be writing about. But it evolved into an exercise that revealed where I have ultimately led myself over the course of 4 decades. From trying to fit in to blazing my own trail.

 

Jennifer Joplin

Jennifer Joplin

SA: How has the "Me Too" movement influenced "The MILF Also Rises"?

JJ: Whoa Nellie! It has been a huge catalyst in my life. I address this directly in my show more than once and through more than one lens. “Me Too” was an eye opener to just what I have accepted up to this point as “normal”, “to be expected”, “part of life” – all of which affected me (more than I realized) emotionally, robbing me of energy, momentum that should have been invested into my own visions and goals.  

SA: Your title carries the connotations of not only gender, but also age. How has age played a role in the way in which you create and tell stories?

JJ: My personal journey into middle age is all about truth and volume. I’m finally not afraid to be honest with myself, with others. I’m not afraid to ask questions to get to the crux of a fear or problem. But I’m also more willing to turn up the volume on my opinion, my ideas, my voice. I wish I had access to this at a younger age but I won’t waste one more second now that I’ve got it!


SA: Mentorship is at the core of StateraArts' mission. Can you tell us about your mentors and how they've shaped you and your work? 

JJ: Mentors, teachers, friends – I find that these lines often blur and I think that’s more than okay. I’ve actually rarely been in an intentional mentor/mentee relationship. But I have been observer to so many female instructors, directors, actors, writers and I have sucked up every moment of their determination, their vision, their fire – maybe more importantly – their flaws and willingness to move and grow with them instead of pretending they don’t exist. I also think that mentor and mentee can be one in the same. There are younger female artists who consider me a mentor but it is their questions and their intentions that teach me, inspire me to press harder, live up to the value they see in me as a leader.


SA: How has your community supported the trajectory of this piece?

JJ: I’ve never felt more support – never. While the first steps into this were solo by choice, the moment I was accepted into the Cincy Fringe lineup I surrounded myself with my womxn. All ages, all professions, all gender identities, all stages of motherhood and “notherhood.” Their willingness to listen and respond, help shape this into something that is not just my story but would ring true with anyone, everyone, has been the greatest gift. I never wanted this to just be about or for women though. I want this to encourage dialogue.  We’re all in this together or we’re screwed! It’s been the sincere thanks, the encouragement I’ve received from many of the mxn in my life that has confirmed for me that I should continue to put this out there into the world.  Not because they approve of it but because they hear it. I’ve never exposed my SELF more - to friends, family, strangers. It’s been one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. The Cincinnati Fringe Festival is such a positive artistic incubator. I wouldn’t have wanted to unveil something so personal anywhere else.

SA: "The MILF Also Rises" is featured in the schedule at Statera's upcoming National Conference in NYC. What can attendees expect during their 75 minutes with you?

JJ: A lot of laughs. Thank goodness!  But a lot of triggers.  My producer, director and I finally decided that we would include in our program, “Trigger Warning: This performance is full of what life is full of.”  I’m always nervous to share this piece and then thrilled to be doing it and then relieved I made it through but my favorite part… talking with my audience afterwards. It reminds me I’m not alone in any of this. None of us are. We’ve got to share more, listen more. More. More truth, more connection, more volume! 

General Registration for conference is open through today, September 30th, until midnight EST. If there is still space available, Late Registration will begin tomorrow on October 1st. Statera also offers a deeply discounted student rate for those who are currently enrolled and attending with their professor.