Fresh off the success of the ‘Playhouse Family Christmas’ in November and December of last year, the Cayman Drama Society is presenting its first play for 2021: ‘The Women’ by Clare Boothe Luce.
There’s no denying that we could all use some laughs right about now, and ‘The Women’ is just what the doctor ordered.
Originally produced on Broadway in December 1936, it was subsequently made into movies. The first was in 1939 with Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell; and the second, in 2008, starred Meg Ryan, Eva Mendes and Annette Bening.
The story revolves around a group of women in New York who suffer the same fate at the same time – marital infidelity (sometimes self-inflicted).
Ladies who hail from the different social classes of the time get embroiled in each other’s lives, and there is plenty of gossip to go around. Hilarity ensues.
Setting the stage
A play set in 1936 with 12 scenes, of which 10 are unique, is an expensive proposition for just nine performances. By way of contrast, the original Broadway production had a cast of 35, a crew of more than 50 and ran for 657 performances.
To stage the play at the Prospect Playhouse, the directors decided on a set design and furniture that fleshed out the scenes with a modern look and feel.
In keeping with that theme, all costumes are modern, but the language of the play remains as it was in 1936. People’s standards, sensitivities and view of the world have changed since then, but the words which express the feelings of characters in the play are true to that time; something which audiences will be unused to and may even be slightly uncomfortable with. However, it is a fascinating look through the window at that period – just before the Second World War – and the lives and personalities of people in those times.
Cast and crew
Lead character, Mary (Kelly Vaisvila), has a husband who is dallying with a shopgirl, Crystal Allen (Miriam El-Madany). Mary’s family and friends include her mother, Mrs. Morehead (Lisa Joels), and her daughter, Little Mary (Sophia Franklin, appearing in her first adult production). Gossip purveyor, Sylvia (Agata Kalicki), starts the ball rolling with some loose talk.
They are joined by the ever-amorous and many-times-divorced Countess de Lage (Darlene Oko), actress/chorine Miriam (Catherine Marron), eternally pregnant Edith (Lisa Bowyer), wannabe socialite Peggy (Simmi Lal-Aspin), and up-and-coming author Nancy (Emma Gladstone).
Of course, the lives of the rich (and possibly famous) do affect others, and so the play includes many cameos for those who are caught up in ‘the affairs’ of divorce.
For this particular production, a number of cast members – Caroline Neale-Allenger, Emma Oko, Maya Tatum, Zoe Sulisz, Abby Vierra, Alisha Sevigny, Judith Nicholls and Gill McDonald – play multiple roles.
Paul de Freitas, Liam Oko and Erica Ebanks share the director’s chair, with de Freitas doubling as the producer.
| ‘The Women’ runs every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 18 Feb. to 6 March. Doors open at 6:30pm with showtime at 7:30pm. The play is rated PG-13, due to a few references to adult matters, mild language, and the period being one when it was fashionable to smoke. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students 16 and under. Buy online at www.cds.ky.