Metropolitan Virtual Playhouse Presents SUPPRESSED DESIRES, May 16
Obie Award winner Metropolitan Playhouse will present a "screened" reading of Susan Glaspell and George Cram Cook's one-act comedy, SUPPRESSED DESIRES, via live stream video, with special guest J ELLEN GAINOR participating in a post-show talk on Saturday, May 16, 2020 at 8 PM, EST. Running Time: 40 minutes. Talkback to follow, including audience questions. Available via Zoom and YouTube.The program will also be simultaneously broadcast on WBAI Radio 99.5 FM Henrietta and Stephen were happily married, until Henrietta discovered psychoanalysis. Now no stone, or dream, grunt, look, or shrug, will be left unturned on the quest for its hidden meaning. But when sister Mabel, visiting them for a spell, catches the disease herself, the couple are in a fight for their wedded life. A comedy of close quarters with two much time on our hands. One of Pulitzer Prize winner Susan Glaspell's first plays, written in 1915 with the collaboration of her husband, George Cram Cook, Suppressed Desires was on the boards for the first season of the theater they founded: the renowned Provincetown Players. No doubt the play reflects the community of Bohemians, artists, and rebels that made up the Greenwich Village and Cape Cod coterie that founded the playhouse. But it is also more than enough to enjoy this witty and knowing look at marriage, siblings, and relationships that are over-exposed. As after every virtual playhouse reading, there will be a post-performance talk, and this week, Glaspell scholar and Director of Undergraduate Studies and Professor of Performing and Media Arts at Cornell University will join the discussion. The reading will be directed by Michael Hardart. Susan Glaspell (1876-1948) was a well-known and best-selling author, and her one-act play Trifles is a staple of American anthologies. But after her death her work fell into relative obscurity. In the 70s her work received new attention and now she is recognized as an important feminist voice from the early century, though it is still rarely seen. The daughter of a hay farmer and school-teacher in rural Iowa, earned her BA at Drake University in 1899 and began work as a journalist for the Des Moines Daily News. She returned in 1901 to Davenport to concentrate on creative writing, and by 1911 had published two novels and stories in numerous magazines. In 1913, she married Cook, and to escape the gossip of their Mid Western community--he was already twice divorced, and a socialist who had given up a university career to truck farm--the two resettled among like-minded political and artistic spirits, including John Reed, in Greenwich Village. George Cram Cook (1873 - 1924), was a director, playwright, novelist, poet, and university professor. Born in Davenport, educated at Harvard, the University of Heidelberg, and the University of Geneva, Among his plays were Change Your Style, The Spring, Tickless Time (co-written with Susan Glaspell), and The Athenian Women. His novels are Roderick Taliaferro: A Story of Maximilian's Empire, and The Chasm, and after his death, his collection of poems entitled Greek Coins was published. Glaspell and Cook were among the founders of the Provincetown Playhouse, established with friends from New York in the summer of 1915 on a wharf building in Provincetown, MA. But after seven years steering that renowned institution through its triumphs in New York, they grew disenchanted with the Broadway aspirations and infighting of fellow Players, and left to live a simple, rustic life in Greece in 1922. She returned to settle in Provincetown following Cook's death in 1924, from a disease caught from his pet dog. She continued writing, chiefly novels, though this was the period during which she produced Alison's House. She also served for a director of the Midwest Play Bureau for the WPA's Federal Theater Project in 1936, but resigned after two years. Returning again to Provincetown, she devoted her remaining years to writing fiction. Among her 15 plays are the one-acts Suppressed Desires (1915, with Cook), and Trifles (1916), and full-length plays Inheritors (1921, produced b
y Metropolitan in 2005), The Verge (1921) and Alison's House (1930, produced by Metropolitan in 2015). Metropolitan presents these readings as a way of keeping the theater's pilot lit.
They also serve to help us compensate performing artists, so particularly affected, during this long "pause." Information about the theater's ARTISTS RELIEF FUND may be found at www.metropolitanplayhouse.org/covidaid
The VIRTUAL PLAYHOUSE began on March 28, 2020, with Alice Gerstenberg's "He Said and She Said," and continued the following week with Eugene O'Neill's "The Rope," with five times the attendance. Beginning with Gerstenberg's "Hearts," the program is simultaneously broadcast on New York's Pacifica Radio Station WBAI, 99.5 FM. For this period of social distancing, with Metropolitan Playhouse's facility closed, actors read parts to the camera from their homes, using the Zoom platform, which enables all characters in a scene to be onscreen simultaneously. Weekly readings are in progress, with mid-week programing in develpment, all drawn from the rich trove of lost American theater. The playhouse is honored and fortunate to be able to continue its mission of exploring America's diverse theatrical history during these trying times. The presentation of the forgotten one-act plays is an ideal way to pursue the theater's mission and extend its current season, devoted to plays and themes of DISSENT.
For more information visit www.metropolitanplayhouse.org/virtualplayhouse