July 26, 2017

Andromeda's Sisters

"Andromeda's Sisters" is a women-strong fundraiser for the theatrical dance company The Neo-Political Cowgirls being held on Sunday at Guild Hall in East Hampton, and featuring performances by Blythe Danner, Cathy Curtin, and Heather Lind.

In case you're a little rusty on your Greek mythology, Andromeda was the child of Queen Cassiopeia, who boasted that her daughter was more beautiful than the daughters of Poseidon, which unleashed a world of watery hurt on the kingdom. In order to assuage Poseidon's wrath, Andromeda's parents chained her to a maritime rock as a tasty treat for the sea monster Cetus, but she was saved by Perseus, and lived happily ever after.

Not so fast, says Kate Mueth, founder of NPC and the brains behind "Andromeda's Sisters."

"In our version, it's Poseidon's daughters who rescue Andromeda," Mueth said. "They don't care what other people think, who's more beautiful than who. And it's not a women-against-men thing. They just tell Perseus, 'You can put down your sword. You can stop being the hero for a minute. Relax. We've got this.'"

Mueth is referring to the Cowgirls' production of Andromeda which was performed last year in Montauk (all of the NPC productions are outdoors and site-specific) and will be performed again this year at the end of August. In addition to dance and music, NPC's shows usually feature fantastical costumes and are occasionally audience-interactive, providing fully immersive experiences that deeply move and inspire those who attend.

In the meantime, the Sunday event at Guild Hall offers up a similar theme to Andromeda, but in real life: women helping women.

A 4 PM a women's advocacy panel will kick off the afternoon, moderated by Cristina Cuomo and featuring the people behind The Retreat, the Coalition for Women's Cancers, the Women's Prison Association, MADRE, and the Story Exchange, discussing their work and women's changing roles in society. After that, a lighter amuse-bouche – the 6 PM VIP garden party, which offers a chance to mingle with the NPC members and panel speakers while enjoying wine and hors d'oeuvres. Finally, the evening is capped with an 8 PM performance of women's one-acts and monologues, performed by Curtin ("Orange is the New Black," "Stranger Things"), Lind (AMC's "Turn," about Long Island's own patriots and spies during the American Revolution), and Danner (1776, Meet the Parents), already well-known to East Hampton's audiences.

Mueth also plans on having tables set up to spotlight women-run local businesses. Men, Mueth said emphatically with a smile, are also encouraged to attend. "This isn't just for women," she said.

NPC is also known for its theater empowerment workshops for girls, and Mueth spoke of expanding it to boys as well. "But the truth is, we need the funds to continue this work. We don't have them unless we fundraise. We've brought our programs all over the world – Finland, Berlin – and we want to continue to expand our educational programming in particular."

Mueth is passionate about everything, including her adopted hometown of East Hampton. She has lived here for years, with her husband Josh Gladstone, the artistic director of the John Drew Theater at Guild Hall, their son, August, and their dogs Rufus and Rosie. "I couldn't have a better place to live, a more beautiful home and family, a greater group of friends and helpers and coworkers," she said with emotion in her voice. "I could never have put this together on my own. This is truly a collaborative effort. And it's a labor of love."

There are many fundraisers in The Hamptons, but "Andromeda's Sisters" is not just another assembly-line wine and cheese event. Rather than keep the spotlight on the Neo-Political Cowgirls, Mueth wants to inform the attendees about social injustices, while still keeping the mood fun. "I want to shine a light – open a door – for as many women as I can," said Mueth. "I can never go through a door alone. Where's the fun in that? I want to take 90 other people with me."

Tickets for the panel discussion are $20/$15 for Guild Hall members and students, Garden Party tickets are $20, or $10 if panel tickets are purchased, and performance tickets are $35. A complete ticket package is $60. There's more information on the NPC website, www.npcowgirls.org, and at the Facebook event page, Andromeda's Sisters.

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