BWW Review: The Mint Commences It's Rediscovery of Playwright Elizabeth Baker With THE PRICE OF THOMAS SCOTT
With the exception of those specifically dedicated to making it their mission, there isn't a theatre company in New York whose output contains such a high percentage of productions by women playwrights as The Mint.
This is especially challenging for the 24-year-old company, since their mission has always been to explore older plays that were significant in their time but have fallen into obscurity. Given the historically limited number of stage works by women that have been produced, their pool to choose from is immensely shallow.
Directed by artistic director Jonathan Bank, their current mounting of The Price of Thomas Scott is the first of three productions honoring early 20th Century British playwright Elizabeth Baker, whose work emphasized the battle against social constraints limiting opportunities for England's young working women.
In the case of this 1913 drama/comedy, the young working woman in question is Annie Scott (Emma Geer), a talented milliner with dreams of moving from the family home in London to Paris, where she can truly learn her craft. Her brother Leonard (Nick LaMedica) longs to advance his own education and their mother Ellen (Tracy Sallows) want to retire to a home in the suburbs.
A jovial, loving and devotedly religious man, Scott's prayers for a solution to his financial woes seems to have been granted when an Old Acquaintance named Wicksteed (Mitch Greenberg), appears with an offer to buy his store for a handsome price. The trouble is that Wicksteed's company wants to turn the place into a dance hall, which goes against Thomas Scott's Puritan beliefs. (No dancing, no theatre, but he does smoke.)
Encouraged by her suitor Johnny Tite (Andrew Fallaize), who fancies hoofing the newest steps himself, Annie seeks a respectful way to sway her father's heart, questioning if his decision is influenced by principles or by prejudices.
The finely-acted production is attractively designed for its Edwardian period by Vicki R. Davis (set) and Hunter Kaczorowski (costumes), and though the two-act play has been trimmed to an intermissionless ninety minutes, The Mint's traditional style of presenting older works in their original context, barring contemporary interpretations, remains true, making THE PRICE OF Thomas Scott a very engaging introduction to a rarely-heard theatrical voice.