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Metropolitan Will Present A Virtual Playhouse Double Feature This Saturday

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Metropolitan will present a Virtual Playhouse Double Feature Saturday, May 2, 2020.

In FOURTEEN, a society grand dame, her eligible daughter, and their unflappable butler prepare for a dinner for fourteen. But when one guest cancels, leaving a table of unlucky thirteen, the game is afoot! A comedy of extreme disproportion.
In CRISS CROSS, a steel-tempered writer is asked to give her consent to the marriage of her ward to an artist of great promise and passion, but middling accomplishment and drive. All she must consider is the true weight of her own love.

These two short plays together describe the extraordinary sacrifices we make for the society we keep, from the frivolous to the profound.

Available via Zoom and YouTube: www.metropolitanplayhouse.org/virtualplayhouse. The program will also be simultaneously broadcast on WBAI Radio 99.5 FM

Rachel Crothers (1878 - 1958), the daughter of two Illinois physicians, graduated high school at the age of 13, and studied dramatic arts in Boston the following year. Though she returned to Illinois for several years, following her father's death and with her mother's support, she moved to New York at age 19, and devoted herself to the stage. She gave up her acting career as her plays received production and notice, and was able to make her living and career as a prolific and highly regarded playwright of searching dramas as well as lighter comedies, always with an inquisitive to critical eye on the mores and of her age. She wrote some 23 plays (often directing their premieres), among them The Three of Us (1903), Nice People (1921), Mary the Third (1923), Expressing Willie (1924), As Husbands Go (1931.) New York area productions include He and She (1920) at East Lynne Theatre Company in 2011; Susan and God (1937) and A Little Journey (1918) at The Mint in 2006 and 2011 respectively
, and Metropolitan's production of A Man's World (1910) in 2013.

Alice Gerstenberg (1885 - 1972) was an actress and playwright from Chicago, best known for her ground breaking, feminist dramas, and her promotions of the Little Theater movement. Best known for Overtones (1913) and The Pot Boiler (1923)--both of which are planned for later online readings by Metropolitan--her comedic plays skewer social norms and gender types, while they include meta-theatrical staging experiments and sly critiques of theater and artistic practice. Ms. Gerstenberg was also a champion of regional theater, non-commercial theater, and new writing for local audiences.

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 programming in development, 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.


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