Saturday, January 25, 2014

Thomas Jefferson is pregnant

There, was that headline enough to catch your attention? Friday evening, B. and I attended the premiere performance of a small local theater production of 1776 in which all the roles were played by women. I was hoping they'd go full Python and have Abigail and Martha played by men, but no such luck. B. said it was like going back to her all-girl high school.

Although, in fact, most of the cast were considerably longer in the tooth than that, and full of useful theatrical experience, too. Jefferson was one of the younger performers, and, yes, she was visibly and five months pregnant, which lent new piquance to lines like, "I have not seen my wife for the last six months."

Just about everybody was good and had personality, and I had no trouble being able to identify every character on stage by intermission time. Adams had that cutting William Daniels quality (which she must have adopted for the role, since I can't imagine her talking that way when playing Abigail or Martha, both of which she'd done in other productions). Franklin kept flubbing spoken lines, which I hope she gets over because it was her only flaw.

Of the lesser roles, I want to single out the large, brassy Stephen Hopkins as someone as colorful as the role deserves; the otherwise-invisible Robert Livingston, who burst out delightfully with a vividly cheerful solo verse in "But, Mr. Adams" - and boy did she ever look surprised and flattered when I told her so at the post-performance reception line; and the young Edward Rutledge, who, after hiding her talent under a bushel for most of the show, commanded the stage with her cruel solo song describing the Triangle Trade.

Music came from a wholly hidden small band. The set consisted of the tally board and a lot of chairs and small tables. Costumes were basically non-existent: everybody just wore pantsuits.

We had great fun watching it, and I'm sorry that the run ends before Potlatch arrives. In the meantime, everyone around here: here's the show info and a link to tickets. Go see it.

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