Keene State Theatre Stages a Talk with Unusual Women
KEENE, N.H. 2/18/03 - Talking With, a dramatic collage of monologues delivered by 11 actresses, will be presented by Keene State Theatre Tuesday through Saturday, March 4-8. Performances will be at 8 p.m. each day with a 2 p.m. Saturday matinee in the Wright Theatre of the Redfern Arts Center on the KSC campus. Late arrivals cannot be seated until intermission. Tickets are $7 for the general public and $5 for KSC students, senior citizens, and youth 17 or younger. For tickets, call the box office at 603-358-2168.
Playwright Jane Martin received national acclaim for Talking With, which premièred in 1981. The play won the 1982 American Theatre Critics Association Award for Best Regional Play, and it was named Best Foreign Play of the Year in Germany. Critics have lauded the play as an extraordinary portrait of womanhood that is humorous, emotionally stirring, and packed with human insight.
Talking With looks at the female experience from the viewpoints of characters who vary in age, education, and social class. The characters include a snake handler, an actress, a baton twirler, and a woman in the midst of childbirth. Each woman has a unique way of coping with conflict - a housewife dresses as Wizard of Oz characters while a middle-aged woman forms personal relationships with lamps.
There is a method to these womens seeming madness, director Ron Spangler explains.
This is a play about women daring enough to leave their mark on those closest to them, and brave enough to allow themselves to be marked by those with whom they share their world, he says. It is only through this shared experience - as painful as it sometimes may be - that they - and we - are able to fully exist.
This is the first time in the recent past that Keene State has staged a production with an all-female cast, and its appropriately scheduled during Womens History Month. While it would be wonderful to say these circumstances alone prompted the choice of Talking With, other factors came into play, says Spangler.
So much of the dramatic literature available to us, while offering wonderful roles for women, more often than not offers a limited number of female roles, he says.
Because, the KSC theatre department, like most college theatre departments, has more female students than males, Spangler was looking to balance opportunity for women through the production of the piece. Also, since Keene State recently hosted the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Spangler needed to find a play that could be efficiently and effectively rehearsed in a short amount of time. The monologue structure of Talking With was the perfect choice.
With each scene a monologue, Spangler took care in selecting a strong cast, which includes KSC theatre faculty member PeggyRae Johnson of Keene and KSC students Laura Sempos of Plymouth, Mass., Kristen Piekos of Lowell, Mass., Katie Fleming of Narragansett, R.I., Marisa Clement of West Hartford, Conn., Jeane Shaw of Keene, Kathy Winkel of Amherst, Meghan Fisher of Hudson, Shannon Sexton of Merrimack, Selena Feurtado of Peterborough, and Sari Gagnon of Plainville, Conn. The stage manager is Junko Miura of Saitama, Japan.