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Metropolitan Playhouse Presents THE SEA LADY, October 6 - 30, 2022

The Sea Lady is Bohemian modernist Neith Boyce's soulful, comical, and challenging inquiry into both the struts that support and the ties that bind civil society. 

Metropolitan Playhouse Presents THE SEA LADY, October 6 - 30, 2022

Obie Award winner Metropolitan Playhouse has opened the world premiere of Neith Boyce's THE SEA LADY, a 1935 play bound for Broadway that never reached its opening, in limited run from October 6 - 30, 2022, in person at the Playhouse: 220 E 4th Street. Alex Roe (Thunder Rock, Poor of New York, Virtual Playhouse) directs.

In 1901 on the English seacoast, a mermaid swims ashore at the vacation home of the Randolph Buntings. Adopted by these aspiring social strivers, the Sea Lady encounters Harry Chatteris, restless candidate for Parliament, Adeline Glendower, his ambitious and devoted fiancée, and a family full of conflicting hopes, doubts, and pretenses. As her presence lays bare the frustrations and hypocrisies of Victorian mortals, so her intimation of life beyond the land reveals a double meaning behind her desire to "get a soul."

Based on the novel by H.G. Wells, The Sea Lady is Bohemian modernist Neith Boyce's soulful, comical, and challenging inquiry into both the struts that support and the ties that bind civil society. The play is equal parts fantasy and satire, with a nuanced view of the power of dreams, the pull of our inmost desires, and the nobility of self-sacrifice in the material world. In 2022, The Sea Lady is a provocative challenge to take a close look at tired norms and values as we envision a better life for the world we live in.

Socialist Wells and Anarchist Boyce were compatible critics of their respective cultures, each questioning the social order and the sexual mores of their times. Adapting a work that indicted that order and those mores, Boyce worked over five years to bring The Sea Lady to a Broadway premiere in 1935, with Robert Edmond "Bobby" Jones on board to design the sets. But then, for reasons unknown, Wells' agents pulled the rights, and the production never came to be. Though the play was presented as one of Metropolitan's distinctive enhanced online readings in December 2021 and is planned for an in-person reading at the Heritage Theatre in Provincetown, MA, in September 2022, this production is the world premiere of The Sea Lady on stage.

The Sea Lady is directed and designed by Alex Roe, artistic director of Metropolitan Playhouse and director of 2020's revival of Thunder Rock, as well as The Poor of New York, A Marriage Contract, and Uncle Tom's Cabin. The production stars Elisabeth Ahrens (You and I, Within the Law, Queens Company) as The Sea Lady, DEXTER McKINNEY II (Skeleton Crew on Broadway, Actors Theatre of Louisville) as Harry Chatteris, Joe Candelora (Indians, Leah the Forsaken) as Horace Melville, and Laura Pruden (The Daily Show) as Mrs. Bunting. The cast includes URSULA ANDERMAN (Kentucky Repertory), ALEX BRIGHTWELL (Cleveland Playhouse, The Guthrie Theater), FLORENCE MARCISAK (A Marriage Contract, Allison's House), JOSEPH J. MENINO (Shadow of Heroes, Phoenix Theatre Ensemble), ERIN LEIGH SCHMOYER (The Climbers, Indians, The Awful Truth, Comedysportz NYC), and Kim Yancey-Moore (On Strivers Row, Walk Hard).
Costume design by Anthony Paul-Cavaretta (Hudson Valley Shakespeare), lighting design by HEATHER M. CROCKER (Radium Girls), and sound design by MICHAEL HARDART (Thunder Rock). The Production Stage Managers are MARY CAITLYN DEFFELY and BETH CRUICE and dialect coach is Barbra Wengerd. Scenic Art by JULIA PURINTON and MEDUSA STUDIO.

NEITH BOYCE (1872-1951) was a Progressive-Era writer who became the sole woman reporter for The Commercial Advertiser when she moved to Greenwich Village in the 1890's. There, in 1899, she wed radical journalist Hutchins Hapgood, and they lived in Paris, Florence, New York, and Provincetown, MA, as part of a circle of ground-breaking artists that included Gertrude Stein, Mabel Dodge, John Reed, Margaret Sanger, Susan Glaspell, John Dos Passos, and many others. With Glaspell and George Cram Cook, they founded The Provincetown Players, the theater collaborative on Cape Cod that launched Eugene O'Neill's career.

A novelist, poet, essayist, and playwright, Boyce published four critically acclaimed books between 1900-1910, dozens of short stories in major magazines through 1920, and the plays Constancy (1915, the first play produced by The Provincetown Players, in the couple's rented cottage on Cape Cod), The Two Sons (1916), Winter's Night (1928) and Enemies (1921, with Hapgood). Her final publications, in 1923, were the memoir Harry: A Portrait and the novel Proud Lady. Her later, unpublished works include an autobiography, diaries, several works of history, a novel, short stories, and notably: The Sea Lady.

COVID-19 PROTOCOLS: to lower the risk of the spread of COVID-19. All artists, staff, and audience must be vaccinated against SARS CoV-2 and required to wear masks inside the building.

Tickets available at www.metropolitanplayhouse.org/tickets, or call 212 995 8410.



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