On Her Shoulders Presents THE CONVENT OF PLEASURE Reading Tonight
On Her Shoulders will present a free staged reading of The Convent of Pleasure by Margaret Cavendish, directed by Elyse Singer tonight, March 28th; doors open at 6:30pm. The Play in Context, which situates the script in its historical time and place, kicks off the evening at 6:45pm. Running time, including a post-performance Q&A is 2.5 hours. The performance is at The New School, Wollman Hall, 65 West 11th Street. R.S.V.P to OnHerShouldersReservations@gmail.com.
MARGARET CAVENDISH, Duchess of Newcastle (1623 - 1673), was a 17th Century provocateur; a poet, philosopher, writer of prose romances, essayist, and playwright, publishing under her own name at a time when most women writers published anonymously. Her writing addressed a number of topics including gender, power, etiquette, scientific method, and animal protection. Her book, The Description of a New World Called The Blazing-World, is one of the earliest examples of science fiction and she was the only 17th century woman to publish numerous books on natural philosophy.
In The Convent of Pleasure, Lady Happy "incloisters" herself with twenty virtuous virgins and widows to devote themselves to pleasure. They create a single female-only utopia-lavishly designed and eco-friendly--resisting the entreaties from their male suitors and curious married sisters. Written in exile during the English Civil War, and first published in 1668, The Convent of Pleasure captures the spirit of the best romantic comedies of the Restoration era, but also takes radical liberties with dramatic form. Cross-dressing, fantastical settings, and burlesques about traditional gender roles are front-and-center. Is this a lost feminist classic, or is the play's debate surrounding the natural law of the sexes its raison d'être? To shine light on the highly theatrical gender play within The Convent of Pleasure, Elyse Singer will direct a gender-bending cast including performers from NYC's new burlesque world.
ELYSE SINGER (Director) is the founding Artistic Director of Hourglass Group, with whom she has directed the OBIE-winning Trouble in Paradise; Mae West's plays SEX and The Pleasure Man (with Charles Busch), Ruth Margraff's Red Frogs at PS122, and produced the GLAAD-winning Beebo Brinker Chronicles. Her play Frequency Hopping won the International STAGE Playwriting Competition and ran at 3LD. Recent credits: Nick Hallett/Shana Moulton's multimedia opera Whispering Pines X and Travis Stewart's Fickle Mistress at Dixon Place.
NEW PERSPECTIVES THEATRE COMPANY is an award-winning, multi-racial company now in its 22nd season. The Company's mission is to develop and produce new plays and playwrights, especially women and people of color; to present classic plays in a style that addresses contemporary issues; and to extend the benefits of theatre to young people and communities in need. Our aim is not to exclude, but to cast a wider net. All of NPTC's work is infused with a strong sense of history and tradition, creating linkages between the past and the present, and recovering forgotten and/or overlooked elements of the human journey.
THE NEW SCHOOL FOR DRAMA is the creative home for the future of performing arts. Agile. Engaged. innovative. Multi-disciplinary. The New School for Drama is home to a dynamic group of young directors, writers, actors, creative technologists, and award-winning faculty. With a core belief in rigorous creativity and collaborative learning, our programs embrace civic awareness across performance disciplines to create work imbued with professionalism, imagination and social context. For more information, visit www.newschool.edu/drama.
On Her Shoulders was founded in 2012 to present monthly staged readings of plays by women from across the spectrum of time, with contemporary dramaturgs contextualizing--and in some cases adapting--them for modern audiences. The program seeks to make it impossible to deny or ignore the great tradition and value of women's contribution to the theatrical canon. On Her Shoulders intends to motivate producers and directors to champion and produce these plays in New York and regionally, and to incite audiences to demand to see them. The Play in Context, the dramaturgical and scholarly presentation component to the program, is sponsored in part by the League of Professional Theatre Women, a not-for-profit organization promoting visibility and increasing opportunities for women in theatre since 1982.