Alison’s House at Orange Tree Theatre 2009

Sam Walters’ Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond U.K. produced Glaspell’s Pulitzer-Prize winning play Alison’s House in Oct- Nov. 2009, receiving even more ecstatic reviews than their 2008 production of Chains of Dew. The Orange Tree is proving beyond a doubt that Glaspell’s plays – and not just Trifles – entertain and speak to today’s audiences, perhaps even better than in their own day. This production, directed by Jo Coombes, featured Christopher Ravenscroft as John Stanhope, Jennifer Higham as Ann, Mark Arends as Eben, Dudley Hinton as Ted, Emma Pallant as Louise, Grainne Keenan as Elsa, and Nicholas Gadd as Richard Knowles. Michael Billington at the Guardian wrote, “Susan Glaspell . . . is American drama’s best-kept secret. . . . In 1930 Glaspell’s play was dismissed as too literary. But, like all the best American drama, it combines acute understanding of the dynamics of family life with an ability to pierce the heart.” For full Oct. 11 2009 review…

And Jeremy Kingston at the London Times wrote, “Until 13 years ago few of us had heard of the American playwright Susan Glaspell, and she was scarcely better known in the States, for all that she won the 1931 Pulitzer Prize for this terrific play. But Sam Walters at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond has been introducing us to almost all her plays, and Alison’s House is the one that has excited me most. It succeeds on all levels. The story it tells is absorbing, steadily tightening its grip as it approaches the climax . . . [while] different threads are cleverly woven into the play’s structure. Bringing the tension into further relief are the moments of stillness. Time pauses while an evidently profound experience is absorbed.” For full Oct. 14 2009 review…

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