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Metropolitan Playhouse to Present Free Screened Reading of THE PEOPLE by Susan Glaspell

Metropolitan Playhouse to Present Free Screened Reading of THE PEOPLE by Susan Glaspell

Obie Award winner Metropolitan Playhouse will present a free "screened" reading of THE PEOPLE, a one-act play by Susan Glaspell, via live stream video, with talkback to follow, on Saturday, July 18th, 2020 at 8 PM, EST.

Running Time: 30 minutes
Talkback to follow with a Glaspell scholar Cheryl Black, including audience questions via Zoom and YouTube chat

Available via Zoom and YouTube at

All links available at:

"The People" may be on their last legs. The alternative, radical journal of news, arts, and letters faces declining readership, dwindling funding, and a depressed editor, whose enthusiasm for the people is waning along with "The People's" resources. Confronting a devoted but leery staff--themselves idealistic and cynical at the same time--he is ready to throw in the towel. But when the magazine's muses arrive in the office incarnate, along with everyday readers from across the country, perhaps The People can rise to the challenge.

In the age of declining journals of all stripes, and the rising tide of fictional facts, Glaspell's play is as fresh as it was in 1917. Written during the pandemic of her time, this paean to the valiant effort to reach across our physical and cultural divides to connect and inspire the solitary is as energizing and hopeful as it was 100 years ago--maybe moreso.

Following the reading, a discussion that includes audience participation will be led by Cheryl Black, Professor of Theatre History, Dramaturgy and Acting at the University of Missouri, and board member of the International Susan Glaspell Society

The reading will be directed by Artistic Director Alex Roe and features a cast of 12, including Craig Anthony Bannister, Adam Bradley, Quinlan Corbett, Erinn Holmes, Teresa Kelsey, Jon Lonoff, Tod Mason, Beethovan Oden, Madelynn Poulson, Jack Sochet, Diane Tyler, and Terrell Wheeler. Music for the presentation is by Michael Kosch, and backgrounds are painted by artist Danny Licul.

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.

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

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

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