The play, Women, was wonderfully hilarious, poignant and captivating.
The script was well chosen by director Jess Serio as it covered highly relevant issues such as gender equality and was positively received by the audience, who constantly laughed whenever a particularly funny line or pause occurred on stage. The relationships between the characters were startlingly poignant. They eagerly took on portraying their characters and remained upbeat in delivering their lines throughout the play. Women was another successful production by Black Martini Theatre that was professionally stylistic, performed by talented actors and made possible through the dedication of its production crew.
It was great seeing the production come together with all the production elements. It certainly felt as though the audience was being teleported into the past with the characters. The costumes were irrevocably in a style reflective of the 1974 American film, ‘Little House on the Prairie’. (I watched some of it in primary school when I lived in Arizona) In the opening scene was ‘Oh Shenandoah’, an american sounding old-fashioned music. With American accents, it really did feel like I was in America again… without the summer heat!
The set was given a homely look, through the use of four wall partitions, four chairs and a chest of dolls. The scenes were transitioned mainly by props and movable household furniture with the help of both actors and backstage hands. While the set was not extravagant, it adapted well for each of the scene changes. (It was a good call by set designer, Thomas Dimmick, since there were many quick scene changes during the play.) The costumes, set and sound worked together in tandem to create realistic settings. The timing of lines was right on point, making the dialogue even more comedic than it was in the rehearsals I’ve witnessed.
The script itself was filled with humorous dialogue, witty remarks and it parodied the rigid social rules that governed 1800’s American society…particularly on ‘courtship’ or dating. In the script, there are several ironic mentions of the disparities women experienced in society and there is also clever foreshadowing… spoiler moments in between the main events. It’s quit interesting to see how much gender equality has improved since the 1800’s. In the past women were not encouraged to pursue a career or voice their opinions w hich is strongly disregarded by Jo March in her quest to become a writer. She even voiced her opinions on this clearly throughout the play by refusing to conform to society or stereotypes.
The play, Women, is set in 1860’s, Massachusetts, America near the end of the American Civil War. Four sisters and their ‘Marmee’ anxiously await the return of their father from Washington. Burdened with the responsibility of providing for their family, they are restricted in their future ambitions and pressured to settle down with man in order to start a family. Unfortunately they haven’t met any men yet, “not even cousins”. This play follows the four sisters as their lives go in different directions with each overcoming the moniker, ‘Little Women’ bestowed upon them by their parents.
Women was inspired by HBO hit-series Girls and uses characters from Louisa May Alcotts’ Little Women. The script was written by Chiara Atik, an author and playwright from New York City. Atik has previously written the book, Modern Dating: A Field Guide (2013) and the play, Five Times in One Night. Chiara Atik is a member of the group, Youngblood. Youngblood (Founded in 1993, New York) consists of playwrights under 30 fostered by the Ensemble Studio Theatre, aimed at supporting emerging playwrights establish a professional career.
Women is still showing this Friday night (7pm @ June 10th) and Saturday night (7pm @ June 11th) at Studio 411 on Murdoch University South Street campus.
Women, by Chiara Atik
Showings: Thursday, June 9th, Friday, June 10th & Saturday, June 11th at 7pm
Venue: Studio 411 (Murdoch University, South Street Campus)
Director: Jess Serio
Theatre Company: Black Martini Theatre FB Page
Starring: Shannen Precious, Cat Perez, Claire Tebbutt, Virginia Cole, Maddy Jolly Fuentes, Hock Edwards, Matthew Abercromby, Will Moriarty and Michael Casas.