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In 1912, a new play by an unknown author took London by storm. Originally scheduled for only four performances at London’s Royal Court Theatre, RUTHERFORD AND SON by Githa Sowerby quickly transferred to the West End, receiving its New York premiere within the same year.
Having struck theatrical gold with THE VOYSEY INHERITANCE in 1999, Mint Theater revisited Harley Granville-Barker with a world premiere of his 1916 one-act comedy, A FAREWELL TO THE THEATRE. “Although it’s taken 84 years to mount this subtle work, the Mint has made it worth the wait” wrote Jason Zinoman in Time Out New York. Critics and audiences were enchanted by the play, which, as per Zinoman’s elegant summation, tells “an intimate and emotionally nuanced story about the unrequited love between a fading grande dame and her sad-eyed lawyer.”1
It would be hard to exaggerate the seminal role played by the actor, director, playwright and polemicist Harley Granville-Barker (1877-1946) in the development of 20th-century British theatre.
Lillian Hellman’s second play, Days to Come, is a family drama set against the backdrop of labor strife in a small Ohio town which threatens to tear apart both town and family. “It’s the story of innocent people on both sides who are drawn into conflict and events far beyond their comprehension,” Hellman said in an interview before Days to Come opened in 1936. “It’s the saga of a man who started something he cannot stop…”
She was “very full of the most miraculous kind of contradictions,” observed Jane Fonda on playing Lillian Hellman (1905-1984). Hellman persistently spoke her mind as one of America’s most celebrated playwrights and controversial icons. Hailed as a “dramatist of extraordinary strength and skill” (John Chapman, The New York Daily News), Hellman pursued questions of truth and deception, integrity and complicity throughout her life and plays. Drawing from melodrama’s conflicts between good and evil, Hellman created characters of textured moral ambiguity, including the indelible Regina Giddens of The Little Foxes.
Conflict is a love story set against the backdrop of a hotly contested election. Miles Malleson combines his two great passions: sex and politics. The result is a provocative romance that sizzles with both wit and ideas.
As a playwright, screenwriter, director, producer, and character actor, Miles Malleson (1888-1969) established himself as a theatre artist of dazzling versatility. Yet while Malleson “acted the fool most memorably” in dozens of plays and films, he was also a playwright of provocative wit, searching insight and, as described by The Manchester Guardian, a sense of “ethical passion” drawing upon a lifelong engagement in progressive politics.
Mint Theater Company presents "Hindle Wakes" by Stanley Houghton. 12/23/17 through 2/17/18 at Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd St.
The Suitcase Under the Bed, so named for the place where all of Teresa Deevy’s writing was stored for decades, prior to the launch of Mint Theater Company’s “Deevy Project”, featured four short plays, three of which were World Premieres. Deevy, thanks in part to the Mint, is now recognized as “One of Ireland’s best and most neglected dramatists.” (Irish Times)
STRANGE BIRTH (World Premiere)
Sara Meade works at a small rooming house where she observes with determined detachment the heartache of each resident; a caution against falling in love herself. Suddenly the day’s post brings a letter that challenges her resolve.
THE LUCKY ONE followed MR. PIM PASSES BY and THE TRUTH ABOUT BLAYDS as Mint’s third production by A.A. Milne—best remembered today as the creator of Winnie the Pooh. The play tells the timeless story of antagonism between two brothers: Gerald, who stands in the sun and Bob, who stands in Gerald’s shadow. When Bob finds himself in serious legal trouble, he turns to Gerald for rescue. When Gerald fails to come through, years of simmering resentment boil over in a confrontation that is as stirring as it is surprising.
At once ironic and fanciful, the work of A.A. Milne spanned novels, light verse, essays, and children’s literature. Yet beyond his beloved Winnie-the-Pooh books, Milne wrote over two dozen plays marked by “enchanting ingenuity” (E.V. Lucas), skillful craftsmanship, and subtle wit. Peering beneath the polite surfaces and semblances of English life, Milne concealed a serious and penetrating eye under a charmingly light touch.
An “un-romantic comedy” about the price of free love, YOURS UNFAITHFULLY is an insightful, intelligent and exceptionally intimate peek behind the closed doors of an open marriage. Stephen and Anne, blissfully happy for eight years, are committed to living up to their ideals. When Stephen, a writer who isn’t writing, begins to sink into a funk of unproductive moodiness, Anne encourages him to seek out a fresh spark. Can their marriage survive uncompromising generosity, sacrifice and love? More than the story of an unconventional couple, the play is about what happens when our ideals clash with our emotions.
William Miles Malleson (1888-1969)
After our acclaimed production of A PICTURE OF AUTUMN, Mint revisited the work of playwright N.C. Hunter with A DAY BY THE SEA. A warm, human, and often humorous depiction of the ‘crisis’ of middle age, the play tells the story of Julian Anson, a once-promising Foreign Service employee, who confronts professional disappointment and personal failure while picnicking along the English seaside.
N.C. Hunter (1908-1971) was one of the leading English dramatists of the 1950s and early 1960s. As theatrical revolution—spearheaded by John Osborne and his school of “angry young men”—exploded around him, Hunter kept his head down and provided moving portraits of a people questioning their own purpose in chaotic post-war England.
Set aboard a houseboat on a fashionable reach of the Thames in 1911, The New Morality tells the story of how the brazen Betty Jones restores dignity to her household and harmony to her marriage, by losing her temper and making a scene.
A writer of “wit, gaiety and skillful craftsmanship,” the Brooklyn-born British playwright Harold Chapin (1886-1915) wrote ten one-act plays and four complete, full-length works before falling as a WWI soldier at the age of twenty-nine. With Chapin’s tragic early death, the British and American theater lost an already assured comic talent. Revolving around the whims and wits of candid female characters, Chapin’s philosophical comedies of manners brim with “imagination and sympathy,” sparkling dialogue, and a sense of humor at once sharp-edged and fanciful.
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