Metropolitan Playhouse to Present First Revival of SELF, 11/15-12/15
Metropolitan presents the first revival of 1856 social satire SELF from November 15 - December 15, 2013.
The "invaluable" and "indispensable" Metropolitan Playhouse--2011 Obie Award winner--presents SELF, by Sidney Frances Bateman. Directed by Artistic Director Alex Roe at Metropolitan Playhouse: 220 E 4th Street.
Tickets are $25 general; $20 students/seniors; $10 children, and may be purchased at www.metropolitanplayhouse.org/tickets or 800-838-3006.
Between his spendthrift second wife and her impecunious son Charles, Mr. Apex is soon to be bankrupt. Fear of public censure leaving him nowhere else, he turns to his daughter (from a prior union) Mary, who has recently inherited a fortune from her aunt and merrily writes him a check for the entire sum. But unknown to either, Charles, urged by his mother, has forged and cashed their own check in Mary's name, so when Mr. Apex presents his check, he is humiliated and refused. Accusations fly; betrayals appear to abound; a daughter is banished from her home; and hopes for justice lie in the hands of an unlikely pair: Mary's misanthropic but wealthy god-father and her big-hearted nanny. Will any of them see beyond their primary interest...in self?
Self premiered in 1856 in St. Louis, with principle roles played by the author and her husband, Hezekiah. Soon after, the play opened in New York, and attracted the eye of popular comedian, John Owen, who bought the rights and developed the character of the merchant/god-father--John Unit--into one of his and the ages most loved comic creations. Since Owens' time, the play has fallen out of the repertoire--eclipsed in the canon perhaps by Anna Cora Mowatt's Fashion (1845.) But despite some evident similarities in character, plot, and satire, Self is very much its own work, and with its merciless mockery of financial carelessness, its moving family crisis, and its unmistakable abolitionist sympathies in the ultimate lionizing and acceptance of Chloe, the distressed heroine's nanny, as the most morally pure and courageous of the lot, the play is both a distinguished comedy in its own right, and perhaps speaks more meaningfully to an audience in 2013.
Sidney F(rances) Bateman (1823-1881), was the daughter of actress Frances Sheppard and English comedian Joseph Leathley Cowell, who had immigrated to America shortly before her birth and was there a popular actor and circus manager. Growing up in Ohio, she followed her parents' careers and became a well-regarded actress in her own right. She and married fellow performer Hezekiah Linthicum Bateman, of Baltimore, in 1839. Of their eight children, several daughters also followed their parents to the stage, and lived successful theatrical lives themselves. At the same time, Sidney wrote numerous short and longer plays, best known among the latter Self, and the blank verse tragedy Geraldine, or, The Master Passion (1859.) The Batemans moved to England, and in 1871 Hezekiah Bateman leased and helped prosper the Lyceum theatre in partnership with Henry Irving. Following Bateman's death in 1875, Sidney Bateman continued to manage the theater, but turned it over to Irving in 1878. Taking up the lease of Sadler's Wells Theatre, she managed it quite successfully until her own death in 1881.
Directed by Alex Roe, whose recent productions have included The Henrietta, The Boss, The House of Mirth, and Uncle Tom's Cabin, as well as the period comedies The Contrast, Nowadays, and Arden of Faversham, the production stars: Page Clements, Doug Farrell, Sidney Fortner, Marie Louise Guinier, Erica Knight, Drew Ledbetter, Gary Lizardo, Matt McAllister, Noelle McGrath, Kyle Payne and Howard Thoresen. Set Design is by Aaron Sheckler. Lighting Design by Christopher Weston (A Man's World, The Henrietta, The Detour, The Boss, Both Your Houses,) and Costumes by Sidney Fortner (A Man's World, The Henrietta, The Detour, The Boss, and NYIT Award winner for The House of Mirth.) Heather Olmstead stage manages.