Douglas Morrisson Theatre to Present MRS. WARREN'S PROFESSION
MRS. WARREN'S PROFESSION will have 15 performances, including one preview, February 11 through March 6, 2016, at the Douglas Morrisson Theatre, 22311 N. Third St. in Hayward, CA. Tickets are $10-$29, and are available through the Box Office at (510) 881-6777 or online at www.dmtonline.org.
DMT's production of MRS. WARREN'S PROFESSION features an impressive ensemble of local performers: TBA Award Winner Celia Maurice as Mrs. Kitty Warren, Emily Scott as Vivie Warren, Craig Souza as Praed, Nathaniel Andalis as Frank Gardner, John Baldwin as Sir George Crofts and Tom Reilly as the Reverend Samuel Gardner.
"As for the play in general I don't care a brass farthing whether it's about prostitution or what it's about. I call is a masterpiece because many of its scenes are intensely dramatic." Shaw, 1900
MRS. WARREN'S PROFESSIONtackles subjects as topical today as they were over a century ago - the fate of women in the marketplace, the choices forced upon women by economic and social pressures and the hypocrisies of middle-and upper-class conventions. The play centers on the relationship between Vivie Warren, a thoroughly modern, highly educated young woman, and Mrs. Warren, her mother whom Vivie barely knows. When Mrs. Warren arrives for a surprise visit, Vivie discovers the truth about her mother's "profession," and a battle of wills ensues.
Written in 1893, MRS. WARREN'S PROFESSION has had a checkered production history - it was banned from public performance on the London stage by England's official censor, not because it involved the issue of prostitution but because it suggested that prostitution as a career choice might be preferable to the so-called legitimate choices available to women in the late 19th century. In 1902, the play was performed for the first time at the New Lyric Club in a private production. When MRS. WARREN'S PROFESSION premiered in New York City in 1905, the producer and actors were arrested on charges of disorderly conduct. It was not until 1925, 20 years later and 32 years after it was written (and the same year Shaw was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature), that MRS. WARREN'S PROFESSION received its first public performance in London.
Director Susan E. Evans says, "Shaw refuses to blame prostitution on the prostitute, and instead, as he himself puts it, "throws the guilt onto the British public." The questions the play provokes are just as uncomfortable and troubling for us in the 21st century as they were in Edwardian England. But audiences shouldn't assume this is just an "idea play" - Mrs. Warren's Profession is a very honest generational conflict between mother-daughter, and I love the way it refuses to resolve in any expected way. "
Bernard Shaw's socialist convictions inform every aspect of his art, and frame the conflicts within this play. Skewering old notions of conduct and conventionality and pitting them against iconoclastic new thinking, he takes the 19th century melodramatic play form and turns it on its head. What first appears to be a melodramatic comedy morphs into a melodramatic tragedy, and, finally, goes off in a completely different direction, neither a tragedy nor a comedy, a truly modern sensibility.
"I simply affirm that Mrs. Warren's Profession is a play for women; that it was written for women; that it has been performed and produced mainly through the determination of women that it should be performed and produced ..." Shaw, 1902
"I cannot pretend to feel easy about it. Can you?" Shaw, 1926
The creative team for MRS. WARREN'S PROFESSION is comprised of designers with credits from numerous Bay Area theatres and beyond, including American Conservatory Theater, San Diego Repertory Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, TheatreWorks, Marin Theatre Company, Cutting Ball, Aurora Theatre Co. and Shotgun Players: Giulio Perrone (scenic designer), Allen Willner (lighting designer), Cliff Caruthers (sound designer) and Daisy Neske-Dickerson (costume designer).
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), or Bernard Shaw as the playwright preferred to be known, was a Nobel Prize and Oscar-winning Irish playwright, critic and socialist. After establishing himself as a music and theatre critic, and as an advocate of Ibsen's new realism, Shaw first collection of plays entitled Plays Pleasant and Unpleasant (1898) included Widower's Houses and Mrs. Warren's Profession, which strongly critiqued social hypocrisy, as well as Candida and Arms and the Man. The collection Three Plays for Puritans (The Devil's Disciple, Caesar and Cleopatra and Captain Brassbound's Conversion) followed in 1901. Other important full-length plays include Man and Superman (1902-03), Major Barbara (1905) Pygmalion (1912), Heartbreak House (1919), and his masterpiece Saint Joan (1923). Shaw's prodigious output also included numerous one-act plays and essays, many concerned with Fabian Socialism of which he was a staunch lifelong supporter. Bernard Shaw invented the "play of ideas," laying the groundwork for modern dramatists like Brecht and Edward Bond. His theatrical style is a special combination of the dramatic, the comic, and the social corrective. Shaw's complete works appeared in thirty-six volumes between 1930 and 1950.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR Susan E. Evans is the current Artistic Director of DMT which she joined in 2011. For DMT she has directed Private Lives, Dividing the Estate, All My Sons, Eurydice, An Ideal Husband, Three Sisters and The Skin of Our Teeth. She is the former Artistic Director of Eastenders Repertory Company for which she directed numerous productions over her 11 year tenure. Favorite productions with Eastenders include "We Won't Pay, We Won't Pay" (Dario Fo), "Frozen" (Bryony Lavery) and "Fear and Misery of the Third Reich" (Brecht) which she co-directed with Charles E. Polly. She has also collaborated with solo artist Carolyn Doyle on productions at the Marsh and the SF Fringe Festival, and regularly directs for Actors Reading Writers in Berkeley. She is an Associate Member of SDC.