BWW Review: INTIMATE APPAREL at McCarter Theatre Embraces
INTIMATE APPAREL at McCarter Theatre is a sensitive look into the lives of those easily forgotten by history. How much do we know about the seamstresses in the background of society? The ones who made beautiful things for other women but felt an ache for their own companionship and importance?
But playwright Lynn Nottage, who has earned not only the Pulitzer but the "Genius Award" and many others, gives us a story that inspires not only a look back at the lives of such women, but also a look at what's right before us-- as the country still examines the themes of class, race, ambition, and how lives play out from one generation to the next.
Director Jade King Carroll, whose production of PIANO LESSON last year still reverberates in McCarter's storied theatre, embraces Lynn Nottage's script with an eye for small details and unspoken connections. As with her other work, she brings out brave performances from her talented ensemble, the kind that take the audience into a world that feels as alive and authentic as it does artistically drawn.
Quincy Tyler Bernstine in the role of Ester wins our hearts early. Bernstine portrays Ester as earnest and with a determination to survive rooted in something deeper than we might ever know. It's a characteristic that grounds us in the sensibility of 1905, and the life of an African-American woman navigating New York City on her own.
The rest of the cast, Jessica Frances Dukes (Mayme), Tasso Feldman (Mr. Marks), Galen Kane (George), Kate MacCluggage (Mrs. Van Buren) and Brenda Pressley (Mrs. Dickson) work to weave the story of Esther into a fabric worthy of one of her creations.
But unlike the intimate apparel Esther sews, this creation is visible, not left to obscurity.
INTIMATE APPAREL runs through June 4, and is the final show for the 2016-2017 season. Ticket Information and Performance Schedule? Performances for Intimate Apparel run May 5 - June 4 in the Berlind Theatre. Single tickets range from $25 - $96.50 and are on sale now online at mccarter.org, by phone at (609) 258-2787, or in person at the ?McCarter Theatre Ticket Office, located at 91 University Place in Princeton.
Photo credit: T. Charles Erickson