The Verge was produced and directed by Cheryl Black, Associate Professor, Department of Theatre, University of Missouri-Columbia, and performed by MU students at the Corner Playhouse, April 2-5, 2009.
The Susan Glaspell Society is pleased to make available an abridged version of Susan Glaspell’s play, Chains of Dew, adapted and with a prologue by Cheryl Black, Associate Professor & Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Theatre, University of Missouri-Columbia.
This version, free to all, will enable theatre groups and universities to stage this witty and provocative play, the last ever produced by the original Provincetown Players in 1922. The only restriction is the request that Prof. Black and The Susan Glaspell Society be acknowledged in any program or print advertising connected with the production, by including the following note: “The script for this performance was adapted from the original by Cheryl Black, with the permission of Valentina Cook, and in cooperation with the Susan Glaspell Society.”
The Susan Glaspell Society is pleased to make available an abridged version of Susan Glaspell’s play, Inheritors, edited by Iris Smith Fischer, University of Kansas. This version, free to all, will enable more theatre groups and universities to stage this relevant and moving play. The only restriction is the request that Prof. Fischer and The Susan Glaspell Society be acknowledged in any program or print advertising connected with the production by including the following statement: “The script for this performance was adapted from the original by Iris Smith Fischer, with the permission of Valentina Cook, and in cooperation with The Susan Glaspell Society.”
The Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond U.K., revived Glaspell’s Chains of Dew, directed by Kate Saxon, on 12 March – 5 April 2008, to very favorable reviews:
Michael Billington at the Guardian wrote, “As part of its female playwrights’ season, the Orange Tree has unearthed this astonishing play by Susan Glaspell: a contemporary of Eugene O’Neill. Writing in 1922, she tackles not only birth control, but the timeless battle between progressive east-coast liberalism and entrenched midwest conservatism.”
Sam Marlowe at the London Times wrote, “That Glaspell ends the play not with neat resolution, but with a sour twist, shows a bracing realism: she was clearly under no illusions about how far the struggle for equality still had to go.”
“Given the easy chuckles and enthusiastic applause that greeted Susan Glaspell’s provocative comedy on press night, it seems astonishing that this is the first and only revival of the play since its premiere at the Provincetown Playhouse on Cape Cod in 1922.” John Thaxter, British Theatre Guide.
” . . . Few male writers of the period or since could have Glaspell’s awareness of the games men’s minds and vanities play, and of the ways women are forced into the role of supporting their self-delusions. And a major strength of the play is that Glaspell’s righteous anger only complements, and doesn’t get in the way of the predominantly light comic tone.” Gerald Berkowitz, TheatreguideLondon.
From February 23 to March 24, 2007, The American Century Theater (TACT) of Arlington, Virginia produced two Susan Glaspell works, Trifles and Suppressed Desires, as part of a bill of seven one-act plays written by American women dramatists from around the Prohibition era. The bill of one-acts appears to have been the brainchild of TACT Director Steven Scott Mazzola, who assembled the plays in conjunction with Lillian Hellman biographer Deborah Martinson. . . . Glaspell’s Trifles, the second play on the bill, received a simple, heartfelt rendering by Mazzola and cast. Perhaps the most unusual feature of the staging was the nontraditional casting of Tanera Hutz, a highly effective African-American actress, in the role of Mrs. Peters . . . Critic Jackson termed Trifles “a masterpiece,” and Doug Krentzlin for Examiner.com found the play “by far, the most effective” of those produced. Susan Berlin, writing for TalkingBroadway.com, showed that much work is still needed in resuscitating Glaspell’s reputation by referring to the production of Trifles as an “interesting discovery.” . . . Glaspell and George Cram Cook’s Suppressed Desires rounded out the bill, followed only by a brief coda from Stein’s Photograph. The play was performed with broad gusto by Mary McGowan, William Aitken, and Jennifer B. Robison, and the playfulness of the early twentieth-century satire clearly still resonated, evoking frequent and long laughter throughout. Krentzlin found the play “a hilarious send-up of Freudian psychoanalysis” and the critic for Alexandria’s Del Ray Sun termed it “deliciously sardonic.” Trey Graham of the Washington City Paper offered perhaps the most succinct and memorable response: “Glaspell’s head-shrink play is a riot.” . . .
TACT dramaturg Andy White organized a post-show seminar on March 17 with prominent scholars associated with the produced playwrights. The seminar, initially suggested by Glaspell Society member J. Ellen Gainor, included Sarah Bay-Cheng (Stein scholar), Kathy Perkins (Spence), Jerry Dickey (Treadwell), White and director Mazzola. Gainor began the seminar with information on Glaspell and the background to Trifles and Suppressed Desires.
Submitted by Jerry Dickey, University of Arizona
Directed by Sara Freeman at Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois
January 30-February 4, 2007.
Set Design by Megan Henderson
Costume Design by Kelly Britt Shaw
Lighting Design by Rob Carroll
Sound Design by Brian Kowalski
Assistant Director Marshall Garrett
Dramaturg Catherine Blake Smith
Stage Manager Katie King
Agatha Stanhope: Loren Jones
Eben Stanhope: Tony Lopez
Elsa Stanhope: Stephanie Grady
Father Stanhope: Justin Banta
Ted Stanhope: Tim Dunn
Louise Stanhope: Lauren Summers
Anne: Bryonha Parham
Mrs. Hodges: Carol Rose
Mr. Hodges: Bradley Smoak
Knowles: Kyle Blair
Jennie: Julia Vanderveen
Students at SuZhou University in China performed Trifles in October, 2006, directed by Alexander Moffet from Grinnell University, as part of the 12th National Symposium on American Drama and Theater. SGS member Ling Jian-e presented a paper, “Compulsory Private Space and Redemptive Sisterhood: Dramatic Space in Trifles and ‘night Mother” and Linda Ben-Zvi was the Keynote Speaker at the Symposium.
April 22-30, 2006 Silver Creek Campus Performing Arts Center
Directed by Mike Solomonson
Members of Mike Solomonson’s Northland Pioneer College class, “From Page to Stage,” Elissia Johnston and Debe Sauro-Betts, adapted Susan Glaspell’s 1928 novel Brook Evans for the stage as “Intimations from the Brook”. On Saturday, April 22, Martha Carpentier gave an introductory lecture prior to the opening night performance; the following week on April 29 Linda Ben-Zvi gave a guest lecture, both visits courtesy of Northland Pioneer College.
Amy Ramsay as young Naomi
Donovan Stole as Joe
Brian McLane as Caleb Evans
Charlotte Skousen as mature Naomi
Brittan Pyper as young Brook Evans
Lisa Jayne as mature Brook
Marissa Decker as Mrs. Copeland,
Barry Richins as Colonel Fowler,
Gabe Sierra as Erik Helge,
Lorie Williams as Mrs. Kellogg,
Breana Holladay as Mrs. Allen,
Malori Jo Rhinehart as Sister Waite,
Deanna Bailey as Aunt Rosie,
James C. Thompson as Uncle Willie,
Luke Walton as Evans, and
Jeff Jones as grandfather Caleb
A Program Note from Mike:
“The majority of scholars who are researching, writing, and rightfully resurrecting the literary reputation of Susan Glaspell are women. So one might ask how did I make a personal connection with Glaspell. In part, and at the risk of sounding simplistic, I think it is because we are native Iowans. When I read her plays, such as Inheritors, I recognize a person who shared my Iowa experiences and the challenges and quirks that result from living and growing up in a small, rural environment. Part of the conflict that I related to in reading her works was the contest between living the conventional life (what young Brook might call doing the “right thing”), and the realization of a more complex world beyond the idyllic country. It is this world that offered opportunities for greater self-fulfillment, but that demanded unconventional choices. What often results in Glaspell’s work is a war between the desire to make the unconventional choice and the demand that the “right thing” be chosen and honored. The tension between these two standards is both a personal, internal struggle that Glaspell’s characters fight, and a battle imposed on her characters by society and its various human representatives. It is one of the thematic elements found in much of her work and that informs her novel Brook Evans, and inspired my desire to collaborate with Elissia and Debe on our adaptation.”
Introductory Lecture on “Brook Evans” answers the questions, “Why haven’t I ever heard of Glaspell’s novel Brook Evans?” and “Why does it speak to us today?”
The Metropolitan Playhouse, a New York resident theater dedicated to exploring and re-vitalizing American literature and culture, staged a landmark production of Susan Glaspell’s Inheritors on November 11 – December 11 2005, as part of their 14th season devoted to the “Outsider.” SGS members provided post-show presentations on November 13, 2005 (Martha Carpentier, Sherry Engle, Sharon Friedman, and Monica Stufft) and on November 20 (J. Ellen Gainor).
For more information about The Metropolitan Playhouse, 220A East Fourth St., New York, NY 10009: www.metropolitanplayhouse.org.
Artistic Director, Alex Roe
Assoc. Artistic Director, Michael Bloom
Director, Yvonne Opffer Conybeare
Stage Manager, Pamela Hybridge
Scenic Design, Ryan Scott
Costume Design, Rebecca Lustig
Assistant Costume Design, Emily Pepper
Lighting Design, Alexander C. Senchak
Music/Sound Design, Ben Ruby
Violin, Ben Lively
Fight Director, Scott Barrow
Dramaturg, Michael Bloom