The logo of the book viewed on a large screen on stage.
Before the show started, Zerrie Campbell, President in the Interim at Forest Park College thanked those persons who sponsored the FREE event and those who supported the efforts to bringing the play to St. Louis.
The show was a sold out performance.
The show began with a montage of over 50 African American women though time in the arts, politics and sports worlds including Harriet Tubman...
Jada Pinkett Smith
and the First Lady Michelle Obama
McGhee started off the show thanking everyone for coming and that this was the first leg in her 10 city tour. "It feels good to be back home." she said.
McGhee also got into why she created "Pocketbook" and what the word metaphorizes (the vagina) and the process of choosing the local ladies for"Pocketbook." She also talked about her dealing with the passing of her mother (during she got emotional) last year and dealing with her battle with ovarian cancer and getting a call from Bravo TV about featuring her play with the Real Housewives of Atlanta all in the same year.
She said that in her job she had did so many stories about black women dying or living with HIV and AIDS and she wanted to let folk know that it was no longer labeled a white gay man's disease. She also got into how she came up with the stories of the women she write about in the "Pocketbook" book where the play originated. She also quite candid on and joked about some experiences with her own "pocketbook." One in particular was she shared about her first experience getting a Brazilian wax saying, "That was the first time my pocketbook talked to me. It said, "HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND." She also talked about how women need to be aware of guys who are DL. She referenced author Terri McMillan's ex-husband who was gay and said, "His eyebrows were arched better than mine."
The first actress up was KMJM's Tammie Holland who had two roles that nite: Sick Purse and Loose Purse. First was Sick Purse when she read about a young woman who gets married young to her childhood sweetheart and Army serviceman, who travelled with her husband while craving to have a baby hence finding out her husband was on the DL and her husband not denying it.
Holland was quite believable in her role.
...and every expressive in her delivery as a young, naive Army wife.
Next up was KSDK TV news reporter Sharon Stevens who portrayed Broken Purse. She read about a lady who lived on the street and sold her body to men. Also, talking on her childhood being molested by her stepdad and her mother not believing her that she was raped by him.
Stevens in a part of her monologue when her Purse discovered she was HIV and how she was still going to have sex with men "and give them a little something extra."
Stevens shocked the crowd when she said not "fuck "once, but ended by saying from the Broken Purse's last line, "I don't give a fuck."
Next up was Platinum Group's Leata Land who was "The Power of the Pocketbook" monologue. Land used a Southern accent to get into her character who was a hard living women from Georgia and how she was taught by her mother to make men pay for the use of her pocketbook, even when she was young growing up, from the rape and being raised by her Aunt , who accused her from stealing her men who gave her money for her "coin purse."
Land was quite convincing as the hardcore mama.
A long shot of Land on stage.
Next up was singer-actress Mardra Thomas who portrayed, Dry Pocketbook (as well as The Silver Bullet later on in the show) involving women going through menopause. Her lady described the wetness of her pocketbook with different metaphors and the joy of having sex with her man when she is that stage of ecstasy. Then, she then talked about how how it has turned "into a box of sundried raisins" and how her "hinges on her pocketbook needed lubrication."
Thomas had the crowd in stitches describing her characters disappointment of going from wet to dry.
...and how she keeps it balanced.
Next up was former ST. Louis Post Dispatch PR rep Cynthia Todd who was "Closed Purse."
Todd talked about a woman who fell in love with a prisoner she met in prison while serving time for rape, how she secretly visited him without her family knowing and the tension of not being able to have sex because of the strict rules of no conjugal visits cuz of his crime. She also talks on having a non-sexual relationship with him for 2 years and prepping to marry him and her character finally telling her family what she was about to do.
In between each changing scene, McGhee spoke about various topics that influenced her in writing "Pocketbook" including watching "Animal Planet"and learning the rituals that male and female animals do when it comes to sex, sisters who prefer to love the same "purses, " and talking to women from CEOs to crackheads about "the change."
Next up was Hariette Scott, professor at Forest Park who was The Pinky Story talking about a lady who was a proper graduate and valedictorian who experienced wilded out oral sex from him with her moving man who was African when she was moving out out her college department and how their relationship went from brief encounters to a 15 year marriage.
Scott described her orgasm (and quite intensely) in a series of objects that were pink regarding his pink tongue in her pocketbook (e.g. Pepto Bismal, pick lemonade)
Next up was McGhee's kin, entrepreneur Tarrah Wiley, who portrayed The Blood involving a young Double Dutch teen queen's first experience having a period and waited to tell her father about her first occurence thus discovering her father killed himself in the house with a gun in his hands over the grief of losing his wife.
She was OK in her performance.
McGhee also read a monologue involving The Big Red when a young lady talks about her being raised to use the red water bottle in the bathroom to douche with vinegar daily and, when she got to be an adult, continued the process to the point where she sterilize herself and cannot have children. Before going into the last two monologues she talked about research she did on African women who have dry sex just to pleas etheir men but tearing their linings up in the process.
Holland returned on stage to do Loos Purse about a lady who's husband complained that her woman's vagina was too loose when they have sex and he couldnt feel her. So she did various measures to take care of it through surgery. But the highlight was when Holland walked off stage very knock kneeded walking as though she was losing her vagina!
McGhee talked about OBGYNs and if gender played a part in the sensitivity of examning a woman. She then asked the women in audience if they ever saw their vaginas and if not to get a mirror to examine it beacuse , in her words, men "know their wallets." Then she went ionto a monologue about Dr Gale, a female OBGYN who had a patient who died from HIV and willed her to oversee her estate coming to find out that her house extremely itemized in alphabetical order and closets were meticulously ordered based on colors and shoe boxes with pictures of the shoes in front of the boxes. The lady then wondered if she paid more attention to her health than her order of her house that she would have been there.
The last monologue was from Thomas who did The Silver Bullet about a deeply religious widow of 10 years who reflected on Saturday nites when she and her man would prepare a romatic evenings. After her husband's death, she continued to keep his clothes and smell them to reminisce about him. Then her life changed when she attended a bachelorette party and bought a vibrator and decided to try it and used it as she continued her Saturday nites with her vibrator and memories of her husband. The crowd really liked this performance from Thomas.
The women all on stage as the actresses give applause to McGhee.
Each women receved a bouquet of roses.
Fans greet McGhee as they get their books signed.
Folk in the lobby.
Scott talks to crowd members.
Price signs an autograph for a fan.
THomas signs her Hancock for a fan's book.
Todd also signs a book.
Stevens signatures a book as well.