Friday, June 12, 2009
Centuries ago we were persecuting women who used herbal remedies or kept to themselves, claiming them to be witches and either burning them at the stake or throwing them in rivers. The witch hunts that went on were a devastating and cruel part of our history that even reached the shores of the future United States of America.
But today, all over the world, the "witch" gets a very different wrap. Part of it is thanks to the better understandings science and modern medicines (no longer considered the potions and spells of the dark arts), part of it is thanks to the rising interest in the religions of Wicca (not to be mistaken as some sort of magical cult) and of course part of it is thanks to the writings of one middle-aged british woman who writes about a little bispeckled boy who discovered he was a wizard.
Soon, come this Halloween (if all goes as planned) the arrival of another fictional spell-caster will make her mark on the literary world. I speak of course of Miss Alison Stewart or as she prefers to be called, Raven.
I came up with Raven as the answer to the "female equation". I felt Flagler's Few needed a strong female character. While Claire plays the damsel in distress, I didn't want my feminist friends to ridicule me for not having a woman who can stand up for herself. Not only that, but I wanted a bit of magic and mystery in the original group and so Raven solves the problem on both counts.
When I was preparing to film "Flagler's Few" I had a hell of a time finding a female to portray Raven, but the answer arrived via AOL Profile Search. Yes, sad to say I got my actress via stocking the web-verse. Her name was Yvonne Droese and she was a theatre major at U.F.
When my assistant director (my sister) and I sat down with Yvonne at a Chipotle diner on University Ave. I was immediately impressed with Yvonne's professionalism and so I agreed to give her a copy of the script. She read it and eagerly agreed to lend her talents. While her character appeared in fewer scenes then any of the other cast her scenes were definitely far and beyond excellence and she gave most of her male co-stars a run for their money when it came to expressing the character.
Today, as I scribble the pages of "Flagler's Few" and come upon the chance to draw Raven, I find that it was Miss Droese, like Jujuan Burton, Jon Lane and Talon May, who made the character something original. She changed Raven from simply a practicing witch, into a smart, classy and intelligent character. After the film was shown at Gator Cinema, her character was praised by the audience, and much later she herself thanked me for the chance to play the role.
All I can say today to Yvonne Droese is, thank you for introducing me to Raven.