This paper explores the transformation of oral histories into a play about the founding of San Francisco Women's Building based on extensive interviews. My impetus for writing She Rises Like a Building to the Sky was to portray the kind of grass roots feminist organization primarily composed of lesbians that made up a large part of the second wave of the Women's Movement in the 1970's and early 1980's. The evolution of She Rises is discussed from three positionalities I occupied over an extensive period of time: oral historian, playwright and eventual community member. Excerpts from She Rises are used to illustrate the lessons I learned in the process of creating this work. I will discuss my self-collaboration in terms of the oral historian's concern for fidelity, the playwright's desire to bring such material to life whether by fact or fiction, and the community member's fears of how others will view this rendition of their stories. The behind the scenes dramas reveal as much as the play itself about the challenges and rewards of undertaking such projects.
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