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BERTHA, THE SEWING MACHINE GIRL To Stream On The Metropolitan Virtual Playhouse

Metropolitan's reading embraces the promise of the two-dimensional drama with all the glories of two-dimensional staging.

BERTHA, THE SEWING MACHINE GIRL To Stream On The Metropolitan Virtual Playhouse

Obie Award winner Metropolitan Playhouse presents a new free "screened" reading, so enormous it must be presented over two weekends, live-streamed at no charge, with its groundbreaking, signature visual wizardry, and a talkback to follow: BERTHA, THE SEWING MACHINE GIRL - Part One, by Charles Foster.

Streaming April 17, 2021 at 8:00 pm (EST) through April 22. 2021 at 10:00 pm (EST). Available at: www.MetropolitanPlayhouse.org/watchchipwomansfortune

The video will be available on the Playhouse webpage, the Metropolitan Playhouse YouTube channel, and the Metropolitan Playhouse Facebook page. Part Two of the play will run from April 24 to April 28, 2021

The model of virtue and integrity, Bertha Bascomb toils as a sewing machine operator for the condescending Miss Pinch, the strict Mr. Carson, and his lustful son, Joe. She would leave for greener pastures, but not without her father's consent and her withheld wages. Little does she know, envious Lizette--another sewing machine girl--and avaricious Carter--who holds secrets of Bertha's past--have worse plans for her than a life of drudgery. Her only salvation may be a drunken wastrel whose life she must turn around if she hopes to get out of the sweatshop, stay out of prison, and keep out of wedlock. Leave it to BERTHA, THE SEWING MACHINE GIRL.

Springing from the maudlin pages of the "The New York Weekly" onto the stage of the Bowery Theater in 1871, BERTHA, THE SEWING MACHINE GIRL was a social cause brought to life, and she thrived for the last three decades of the 19th century. She found life again in a new version in 1906 and in 1939 through the powerful International Ladies Garment Workers Union on their Labor Stage as "Pins and Needles."

The popularity of the play attests to the enduring appeal of the sincere if broad renderings of human conflicts and aspirations, as well as the essential truths at the play's heart: the just are bedeviled by the selfish, the fortunate by the resentful, the powerless by the powerful, and chance plays a far greater role in our day-to-day then we wish. At this moment of serious inquiry into social inequities, this high dudgeon melodrama speaks more clearly and truthfully than it has for years.

Metropolitan's reading embraces the promise of the two-dimensional drama with all the glories of two-dimensional "staging" that the company has magically embraced over the course of the pandemic.

Discussion including audience participation follows the reading with Kim Miller, Associate Professor of Theatre Arts at The University of the Cumberlands

The production features a cast of 14 under the direction of Artistic Director, Alex Roe, and includes Becca Ballenger, Craig Anthony Bannister, John Blaylock, Diego Carvajal, Margaret Catov, Linus Gelber, Tyler Kent, Peter Loureiro, Beethovan Oden, Madelynn Poulson, David Logan Rankin, Jay Romero, Hannah Sharafian, and Tom Staggs. Graphic Art by Medusa Studio.

For more information visit www.metropolitanplayhouse.org.


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