Artemisia Theatre presents Festival of One Acts
In honor of the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment, Artemisia Theatre Company presents a festival of three one-acts: Evelyn Glover’s A Chat with Mrs. Chicky and Miss Appleyard’s Awakening, and George Bernhard Shaw’s Press Cuttings. All directed by Beth Wolf, Each of the plays takes place around 1913 in Pre-Suffrage London, and shares the various perspectives around the Suffrage Movement. While some were in favor of a woman’s right to vote, others were against – both men and women, and the stories explore those reasons at length.
A Taste of Evelyn Glover
While a number of women in the early 1900s were in favor of a woman’s right to vote, a large portion of the Anti-Suffrage Movement was also comprised of women – those who felt that a woman’s place was in the home, and any involvement in politics could take her away from that responsibility. Both of Glover’s plays in the festival showcase that conflict, also exploring how issues of class play a role.
In A Chat with Mrs. Chicky, upper-class Mrs. Holbrook (Lucinda Johnston) arrives at the home of charwoman Mrs Chicky (Megan Delay) to discuss the Anti-Suffrage Movement, only to realize that Mrs. Chicky in fact is a suffragette herself. In Miss Appleyard’s Awakening, Mrs. Crabtree (Megan Delay) invites Anti-Suffrage Activist Mrs. Appleyard (Brittani Yawn) to sign an anti-suffrage petition. Over the course of the play, Mrs. Appleyard comes to realize the errors in her beliefs, and perhaps her interest in activism would be better utilized on the other side of the movement. Both plays plant the audience in the everyday lives of these women, and invite us to consider the perspectives stemming from the very real situations in which they find themselves. How does class play a role, and how might it impact a woman’s responsibility to her home?
George Bernard Shaw’s Chaotic Farce
While Glover’s plays are grounded in reality, Shaw’s Press Cuttings is a little more heightened. The piece explores a world in which the suffrage movement leads to total chaos – and the only way to shut it down might be pure violence from the military. Shaw’s play takes a different look at politics, and a woman’s role in that world. While some women might believe that their voice would be better heard if they have a place in Parliament and the vote, others find that their perspectives are better heard through whispering into the ear of a man in leadership. The inclusion of this particular play in the night offered a nice contrast to Glover’s work, inviting us to learn about various perspectives at play in 1913 London.
Including three plays in the night is a fun idea, and allows the opportunity to explore various perspectives and questions. This writer wondered if the size of the project created a bit of an obstacle for the team - preventing them from taking the time needed on the various aspects of the production. As a result, some elements felt a little under rehearsed or unspecific. Regardless, if you are someone (like this writer) who follows art exploring this particular political moment, this could certainly be a festival for you.
Running through November 24, 2019
Wednesdays at 7:30pm
Thursdays at 7:30pm
Fridays at 7:30pm
Saturdays at 7:30pm
Sundays at 3:00pm
The Den Theatre
1331 N. Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
About the Author:
Lauren Katz is a freelance director and dramaturge, and new to the Chicago Theatre Scene. She recently moved from Washington DC, where she worked with Mosaic Theater Company of DC in Company Management, as well as directed around town with various theaters.
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