June 13, 2021

Wicked “Wanton” Women

Pin It

CDS’ “The Women” is wickedly funny and features many wanton richladies

I will give you my review of the CDS’ latest production playing at The Prospect Playhouse now, and you can read the very informative Press Release they have provided afterwards.

I’m afraid I arrived half hour late to watch the Dress Rehearsal of “The Women” so it took me another half an hour to understand what was actually going on. I urge you, therefore, to arrive in time to see the start. I was told I missed a great opener.

I was struck immediately by how good the set was – A Hairdresser’s Salon – showing two rooms. There are seven scenes in Act 1 and five scenes in Act 2. Mary’s Living Room appears twice – at the beginning and at the end of Act 1, and Mary’s Bedroom/Boudoir is also twice but in separate Acts. I must applaud not only the designer(s) of the sets, the construction crew, but also the persons who moved the sets so swiftly between scenes. The piece-de-resistance for me was “Crystal’s Bathroom”.

Because everyone of the women (excepting the maids) were very upper class/rich, so all the set pieces and furniture also depicted this.

Then of much note are the costumes. Much detail was given to find the right wearing apparel to denote wealth.

I won’t elaborate on the plot, see the PR after this, except to say it shows divorce should not be taken lightly. There is a lot of people getting divorced and only two of the cast are caught emotionally up into it and shed tears. The rest are happy about it, one I believe had four and finds out her last husband is planning to leave the nest by the end of the play.

It is both funny and sad and even though written in 1936, when actually divorce was much harder to get – you had to go to Reno to get a quickie (a month), it is still pertinent today. There seemed to be no shame among the rich and privileged, it was just a way of life.

I felt more than once I was watching cats playing and tormenting one another, and there was a wonderful fight scene between two of them.

The play is very entertaining, plenty of laughs, and even with a cast of twenty, some having to double up, there was enough substance, especially the four main characters, to feel warmth and hate toward them.  I really, really got to dislike Crystal, and when she was in the bathtub talking on the phone, I hoped the maid would come in and attempt to drown her. 

All plays would fall if the cast were not up to par, and without hesitation, I can affirm there was not one weak link., Please take account I watched it at a Dress Rehearsal with just two of people (including me) as the audience. What I saw would not have disgraced a real performance.

The most interesting scene for me came right at the very end. It involved SEVENTEEN members of the cast who came in and out of the Casino Roof Powder Room doors, many times, and did not bump or even swerve to avoid one another. A most beautiful piece of staging.

Paul De Freitas, whose idea it was for bringing this play to the CDS, was the main director with help from Liam Oko and Erica Ebanks. I asked him why he had chosen this play. He told me it was simple. He want to find a play that was about women, involved women, and  was acted by women. 

With a title “The Women” I suppose choosing this play was a no. brainer. 

Paula always likes to do something different. My first reaction at the interval  to the lady sitting by me in the theatre, was “Well, this is different. And very interesting.” She agreed. I wondered if men would enjoy it? 

Answer, “Of course.” With twenty women and no men in sight, performing on a stage, looking beautiful, and one taking a bath, well…….

It is a must see.  And some nights have already been sold out.

CDS PRESS RELEASE

THE WOMEN – Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, Feb 18-20, Feb 25-27, Mar 4-6, Prospect Playhouse – Curtain 7:30pm – Runtime 2½ hours

THE WOMEN is a comedic play by Clare Boothe Luce (1936) which was then made into two movies – first in 1939 with Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford, and then again in 2008 with Meg Ryan. 

In the early 1900’s, a divorce could only be obtained quickly by visiting Reno, Nevada, living there for more than a month, and then applying for the divorce at which point it would be granted on payment of a fee. Many ranches offered accommodation “out of the public view” since Reno was a popular holiday spot for “society” and those involved in divorce proceedings would typically want to keep their status private.

Our story revolves around a group of women in New York who suffer the same fate at the same time – marital infidelity – either self-inflicted or, as in the case of our lead character Mary (Kelly Vaisvila) imposed by her husband’s dalliance with a shopgirl, Crystal Allen (Miriam El-Madany). We meet a number of Mary’s family and circle of friends including her mother Mrs. Morehead (Lisa Joels) and her daughter Little Mary (Sophia Franklin appearing in her first adult production), gossip purveyor Sylvia (Agata Kalicki) whose loose talk starts our ball rolling, 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. 

THE WOMEN includes many cameo roles by those who are caught up in “the affairs” of divorce: story-telling manicurist Olga (Jewel Donohue who also plays divorce lawyer Miss Trimmerback), the second divorce lawyer, Miss Watts, who has a secret crush on her boss Stephen Haines, Mary’s husband (newcomer Alisha Sevigny – a successful young adult book author in her own right), Mary’s faithful maid Jane (a first time on stage in an adult production for Jardae Barnes in a wonderful cameo), Mary’s new cook Maggie (Gill McDonald who also plays Lucy – the Reno guest ranch manager), Little Mary’s tutor (Judith Nicholls in her stage debut). A number of cast members play multiple roles so as to keep cast size down – from 41 to 20. Caroline Neale-Allenger, Emma Oko, Maya Tatum, Zoe Sulisz and Abby Vierra join Alisha Sevigny, Judith Nicholls, Jewel Donohue and Gill McDonald in playing multiple roles. 

Amanda Vierra is Stage Manager. The directors are involving themselves behind the scenes with Erica Ebanks running lights and sounds, and Paul de Freitas and Liam Oko joining in as part of the stage crew team – Ashleigh Moore, Su Abbott, Simone Middleton, Liana Jones, Mel Wright, Kate Paysen, Ben Tatum, and Mike and Paula George.

A play set in 1936 with 12 scenes, of which 10 are unique, is an expensive proposition for just 9 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 joint directors, Paul de Freitas, Liam Oko and Erica Ebanks decided on a design which established two fixed walls to left and right which do not change and a set of moveable walls and furniture which flesh out the scenes in a modern look and feel. In keeping with that look, all costumes are modern. But the language of the play remains as it was in 1936. Our standards, our sensitivities and our view of the world has changed since then but the words which express the feelings of the play are true to that time, something which audiences will be unused to and may even be slightly uncomfortable with. But it is a fascinating look at that period – just before the Second World War – and the lives and personalities of those who lived those times.

Author Clare Boothe Luce was an intriguing woman of whom a play or movie should be written. She understudied Mary Pickford on Broadway at age 10, and had her Broadway debut in a detective comedy, “The Dummy” in 1914 .She married her first husband, George Brokaw, millionaire heir to a New York clothing fortune in 1923 and was divorced in Reno in 1929 after bearing daughter Ann Clare. She had careers in movies and in politics and became a Roman Catholic in 1946 after the death of her daughter in a motor vehicle accident. She married Henry Luce – publisher of Time magazine, and convinced him to start Life magazine with her. Their marriage was described as difficult – not surprising since they had relationships at the highest levels of society outside of their marriage. It is easy to see how the play THE WOMEN was like a peek through the curtains of her life.

The Cayman Drama Society is proud to present this classic comedy THE WOMEN with so many new faces whose talents have been nurtured in the CDS training environment, CayStage, run by Kirsty O’Sullivan. Information on CDS training courses and tickets for THE WOMEN are available on the CDS website – www.cds.ky

THE WOMEN 
ACTORROLE
Act 1 Scene 1Mary’s living room
AGATA KALICKISYLVIA
EMMA GLADSTONENANCY
SIMMI LAL-ASPINPEGGY
LISA BOYEREDITH
KELLY VAISVILAMARY
JARDAE BARNESJANE
Act 1 Scene 2Hairdresser’s salon
DARLENE OKOCOUNTESS DE LAGE
ABBY VIERRA2ND HAIRDRESSER
CAROLINE NEALE1ST HAIRDRESSER
CATHERINE MARRONMIRIAM IN MUD MASK
JUDITH NICHOLLSEUPHIE
JEWEL DONOHUEOLGA
ZOE SULISZPEDICURIST
KELLY VAISVILAMARY
EMMA GLADSTONENANCY
DARLENE OKOVOICE
Act 1 Scene 3Mary’s bedroom/boudoir
JARDAE BARNESJANE
KELLY VAISVILAMARY
JUDITH NICHOLLSMISS FORDYCE
SOPHIA FRANKLINLITTLE MARY
LISA JOELSMRS. MOREHEAD
Act 1 Scene 4Dressmaker’s Shop
EMMA OKO1ST GIRL
ZOE SULISZ2ND GIRL
CAROLINE NEALE1ST SALESWOMAN
MAYA TATUM1ST MODEL – NEGLIGEE 
JUDITH NICHOLLS2ND SALESWOMAN
MIRIAM EL-MADANYCRYSTAL ALLEN
KELLY VAISVILAMARY
AGATA KALICKISYLVIA
ABBY VIERRA2ND MODEL – CORSET
JEWEL DONOHUETAMARA
ALISHA SEVIGNYFITTER
Act 1 Scene 5Exercise room
EMMA OKOINSTRUCTRESS
AGATA KALICKISYLVIA
SIMMI LAL-ASPINPEGGY
LISA BOYEREDITH
Act 1 Scene 6Mary’s pantry
JARDAE BARNESJANE
GILL McDONALDMAGGIE
Act 1 Scene 7Mary’s living room
LISA JOELSMRS. MOREHEAD
KELLY VAISVILAMARY
JARDAE BARNESJANE
JEWEL DONOHUEMISS TRIMMERBACK
ALISHA SEVIGNYMISS WATTS
SOPHIA FRANKLINLITTLE MARY
Act 2 Scene 1Hospital room
LISA BOYEREDITH
JUDITH NICHOLLSNURSE
SIMMI LAL-ASPINPEGGY
Act 2 Scene 2Mary’s living room (Reno)
GILL McDONALDLUCY
SIMMI LAL-ASPINPEGGY
DARLENE OKOCOUNTESS DE LAGE
CATHERINE MARRONMIRIAM
AGATA KALICKISYLVIA
KELLY VAISVILAMARY
Act 2 Scene 3Crystal’s bathroom
ZOE SULISZHELENE
MIRIAM EL-MADANYCRYSTAL ALLEN
SOPHIA FRANKLINLITTLE MARY
AGATA KALICKISYLVIA
Act 2 Scene 4Mary’s bedroom/boudoir
CATHERINE MARRONMIRIAM
KELLY VAISVILAMARY
EMMA GLADSTONENANCY
JARDAE BARNESJANE
LISA BOYEREDITH
LISA JOELSMRS. MOREHEAD
DARLENE OKOCOUNTESS DE LAGE
SIMMI LAL-ASPINPEGGY
SOPHIA FRANKLINLITTLE MARY
Act 2 Scene 5Casino Roof powder room
ZOE SULISZ1ST GIRL
MAYA TATUM2ND GIRL
CAROLINE NEALE1ST WOMAN
ALISHA SEVIGNY2ND WOMAN
ABBY VIERRACIGARETTES
JUDITH NICHOLLSSADIE
GILL McDONALDDOWAGER
EMMA OKODEBUTANTE
DARLENE OKOCOUNTESS DE LAGE
CATHERINE MARRONMIRIAM
EMMA GLADSTONENANCY
KELLY VAISVILAMARY
SIMMI LAL-ASPINPEGGY
LISA BOYEREDITH
JEWEL DONOHUEGIRL IN DISTRESS
MIRIAM EL-MADANYCRYSTAL ALLEN
AGATA KALICKISYLVIA

Erica Ebanks – Sounds and Lights

Amanda Vierra – Stage Manager – with crew:

Paul de Freitas

Liam Oko

Ashleigh Moore

Su Abbott

Simone Middleton

Liana Jones

Mel Wright

Kate Paysen

Ben Tatum

Mike George

Paula George

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Speak Your Mind

*