by Ariel Mitchell, playwright
When I sit down to write a play, it is usually to work out problems I am struggling with. I like to create characters to voice different sides of an issue to help me approach a dilemma in a logical way, and to solidify my opinions on it. So, my characters usually reflect parts of myself.
Through this process, I begin to see the world more clearly, but I also discover many more questions.
I have lived with A Second Birth and its characters for a long time and they have helped me discover many things about myself and the world. First, it has given me a testimony of the divine role of women, the calling of womanhood, and my personal place as a daughter of God. When I was growing up, I had amazing examples of strong women. Both of my grandmothers are incredibly intelligent, confident, and courageous. Both graduated from prestigious universities and held important roles in their fields (a court reporter and a psychiatric nurse who went on to found the BYU nursing school). My mother managed to raise us while running an incredibly successful medical practice. Some of my fondest memories are listening to her answer emergency calls as we ran errands or visiting the newborns as I accompanied her on her rounds at the hospital. I learned a lot from these women. But most importantly, I learned that I, as a woman, could do anything.
This lesson hasn’t always translated as positively in my life. Sometimes I find myself exalting women over men because of the trials that they have to face to get to the same place. At the same time, like Nasima, I find myself frustrated at being “limited.” A Second Birth helped me strengthen a weakness in my testimony and build faith in the words of prophets which state “…fathers and mothers [men and women] are obligated to help one another as equal partners” (The Family Proclamation to the World).
As I wrote this play, the Spirit guided me and answered many of my prayers. I hope each member of the audience finds a character to identify with in the play and/or a character that helps them take a look at an issue in a way that they have never thought of before. I hope the Spirit will be there.