Maryland Ensemble Theatre presents HE AND SHE An Endangered Species Project Of MET-X
Maryland Ensemble Theatre's MET-X BRANCH presents the second installment of the Endangered Species Project with an actively staged reading of Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Rachel Crothers' He and She. Written in 1911, this early feminist's battle of the sexes drama focuses on "He" (Tom Herford) and "She" (Ann Herford), husband and wife artists whose marriage is put to the test when it is time to submit for a prestigious commission. He and She is often considered Rachel Crothers' most important play for its nuanced depiction of the choices faced by the New Woman of 1911. He and She opened in Boston in February of 1912, had a successful run on Broadway in 1920, and had a major revival in 1980 when mounted by New York's BAM Theatre Company.
Director Suzanne Beal (former Artistic Director of Rep Stage and resident MET Director) shared her thoughts on Crothers: "I'm thrilled to bring this forgotten gem -- a surprisingly relevant play, even by today's standards -- to MET." After directing a staged reading of He and She at the Actors Salon in DC, Beal noted that "Patrons were astounded by the relevance, and discussions in the lobby after the show centered around how impossible it seems that this play was written a century ago. I wanted to bring this show back to my home town of Frederick." Beal also stated, "As a first-generation feminist, Rachel Crothers believed that women could choose between a career and a family, but she was unconvinced that women could "have it all," putting her at odds with many later feminists."
The Endangered Species Project, a series of actively staged readings presented as part of Maryland Ensemble Theatre's "extra" branch MET-X, was conceived by Christine Mosere and presented Dorothy Parker's Ladies of the Corridor this past Fall as their inaugural production. During her time in Seattle, Mosere was inspired by a theatre troupe with the same name. Seattle's Endangered Species Project has the mission of giving voice to forgotten plays through professionally staged readings. Mosere added to the mission a focus on forgotten female playwrights and/or plays with strong roles for women over 40 -- as she says, "the truly endangered species of theatre."
Beal has pulled together an impressive cast to breathe life into the words: Aaron Angello, Karli Cole (MET Ensemble member), Jason Hoffman, Robert Leembruggen, Christine Mosere (MET Staff), Em Perper (MET Ensemble member), Cassandra Redding, and Katie Rattigan (MET Ensemble member). The Production Stage Manager is MET Ensemble member Rachel Smith.
He and She runs for two performances: January 27th and 28th at 4pm at Maryland Ensemble Theatre, 31 West Patrick Street in the heart of downtown Frederick. Running time is 2 hours and 15 minutes and admission is free to the public with donations accepted at the door.
If you want to see the sign of the times watch women. Their evolution is the most important thing in modern life.
Rachel Crothers was born in Bloomington Illinois to doctor parents (her mother having studied medicine in her 40s to became the first woman physician in Bloomington). Crothers was Pulitzer Prize-nominated for her work. She was one of the most successful playwrights in the first half of the 20th century. From her first professional production in 1906 to her last in 1938, she wrote, directed, produced and occasionally even performed in over 30 plays, most of them commercially successful on Broadway. Her first New York production, The Three of Us, ran for 227 performances and the following year transferred to London with Ethel Barrymore in the leading role. Her last hit was Susan and God, which won The Theatre Club's outstanding play award in 1937. Despite her success, she remains neglected by the academy and infrequently revived. One explanation for this disregard may be the male-dominated nature of theatre. Rachel Crothers put women at the center of all of her plays and as such her work was often disparaged by male critics, much like today's "chick flicks."
MARYLAND ENSEMBLE THEATRE
Maryland Ensemble Theatre (MET) is dedicated to the creation and production of extraordinary theatre art through the combined voices of a diverse ensemble of professional resident artists. The MET-X branch was formed to be a home for MET ensemble and staff to hone and perfect their craft through producing theatre.
HE AND SHE by Rachel Crothers
RATING/AGE APPROPRIATE WARNINGS: He and She was written for adults, but the language is family-friendly. We'd say age 12 and above.
Saturday, January 27th at 4pm
Sunday, January 28th at 4pm
The Mainstage of Maryland Ensemble Theatre, 31 West Patrick Street, Frederick, MD 21701
Tickets are FREE to the public, however, donations are appreciated.
DIRECTOR: Suzanne Beal
STAGE MANAGER: Rachel Smith
TOM HERFORD: Aaron Angello
ANN HERFORD: Christine Mosere*
DAISY HERFORD: Katie Rattigan
MILLICENT: Karli Cole
DR. REMINGTON: Robert Leembruggen
KEITH MCKENZIE: Jason Hoffman
RUTH CREEL: Cassandra Redding
ELLEN and STAGE DIRECTIONS: Em Perper
*Member of Actors Equity Association
HOW IT BEGAN: Under the name The Herefords, the play was mounted in Boston in February of 1912. After revising and returning to her original title, He and She, the play opened a successful NY run in 1920 with the author playing the role of Ann. Of that production, the critic Alexander Wolcott wrote "For this play by Miss Crothers rehearses the tragedy of the new woman, with her longing for a creative career and the obligations of her home warring within her."