Read Jonathan Wilson's Biography here. | Read Lynn Nottage's Biography here.
The time is 1905, the place New York City, where Esther, a black seamstress, lives in a boarding house for women and sews intimate apparel for clients who range from wealthy white patrons to prostitutes. Her skills and discretion are much in demand, and she has managed to stuff a goodly sum of money into her quilt over the years. One by one, the other denizens of the boarding house marry and move away, but Esther remains, lonely and longing for a husband and a future. Her plan is to find the right man and use the money she’s saved to open a beauty parlor where black women will be treated as royally as the white women she sews for. By way of a mutual acquaintance, she begins to receive beautiful letters from a lonesome Caribbean man named George who is working on the Panama Canal. Being illiterate, Esther has one of her patrons respond to the letters, and over time the correspondence becomes increasingly intimate until George persuades her that they should marry, sight unseen. Meanwhile, Esther’s heart seems to lie with the Hasidic shopkeeper from whom she buys cloth, and his heart with her, but the impossibility of the match is obvious to them both, and Esther consents to marry George. When George arrives in New York, however, he turns out not to be the man his letters painted him to be, and he absconds with Esther’s savings, frittering it away on whores and liquor. Deeply wounded by the betrayal, but somehow unbroken, Esther returns to the boarding house determined to use her gifted hands and her sewing machine to refashion her dreams and make them anew from the whole cloth of her life’s experiences.
DIRECTOR'S CASTING CONSIDERATIONS AND/OR REQUIREMENTS:
It is critical to the circumstances of this period story that Esther, Mrs. Dickson, Mayme, and George be played by black actors and that Mrs. Van Buren and Mr. Marks be played by white actors. Gender roles are to be played as written; the actors’ performances will need to depict the gender politics reflected in this historical script itself.
All characters are open to being cast with no specific preliminary notions in mind regarding neurodivergence, disability, body physicality, religion, or sexuality.
The script calls for several specific dialects so actors should be ready and willing to work with a faculty dialect coach on a specific dialect during the rehearsal period. There is no need to audition in a dialect. Actors of all language backgrounds are welcome.
*Note: This project will engage the services of a trained faculty Intimacy Coordinator, Denise Serna. Please Review the Intimacy Disclosure Statement, linked here.
Read Denise Serna's Biography here.
Tuesday, 5/02/23, 7-8pm in MUND 125
Please prepare a 60-90 second monologue, dramatic or comedic, any period.
Tuesday, 5/02/23, 9-10pm in MUND 125
The stage manager Tori Kenny-Gates, firstname.lastname@example.org, will notify you if you are called back.
Rehearsals Begin: Monday, August 28th, 2023
Tech: Thursday, September 21st, 2023 - Wednesday, September 27th, 2023
Performances: Thursday, September 28th - Saturday, September 30th, 2023 and Thursday, October 5th - Saturday, October 7th, 2023 at 7:30PM. Sunday, October 1st & Sunday, October 8th, 2023 at 2:00PM.
Performances will be in person at the Newhart Family Theatre and will follow all federal, state, and university COVID-19 guidelines.
This project conflicts with rehearsals for AS YOU LIKE IT.