In Illinois, women are paid 79 cents for every dollar paid to men — so to see the satirical feminist play “Women Laughing Alone With Salad,” women can pay $19 for a ticket that will cost a man $24.
In the opening scene, three women sit on a park bench, munching on salad for lunch. They “eat the salad, they laugh, they laugh harder and harder, and continue to laugh for two, three or four minutes,” Jeremy Weschler, artistic director at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave.
The concept of the four-person play derived from the absurdity of a popular stock photo trend in which women with wide smiles delightfully take bites of their salad.
“Do a Shutterstock search, type men eating salad, women eating salad,” Weschler said “There’s a world of difference between the two, who needs 15,000 images of women laughing eating a salad alone in a frame?”
Weschler had the idea to lower the cost of tickets for women to reflect the gender wage gap in the state as a primer for audience members to start thinking about gender inequality.
Audience members have had a range of reactions to the cost difference, from laughing to arguing against it. So far, he said about 65 percent of tickets purchased have been at the woman’s price.
“The play is about how we just swim in the sea of all these body image requirements and media requirements,” Weschler said. “I thought pricing the tickets would be an interesting way to give people a sense of their complicity, it was my effort to engage the process before the play even starts.”
The play will run through April 29, and audience members can sip on a themed cocktail, the “does this count as salad?” mojito.