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Beginning January 23, 2020, Mint Theater Company will present a program of short plays adapted from stories by two of the world’s greatest authors, Anton Chekhov and Leo Tolstoy. These dramatic adaptations come from one of our favorite playwrights, Miles Malleson, author of Mint productions, Conflict and Yours Unfaithfully, both New York Times Critic’s Picks.
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.
The Mountains Look Different is the story of Bairbre’s return home to Ireland, after a dozen hard years in London working the streets. Three days ago, she married Tom, who knows nothing of her past. Together they hope to settle with Tom’s father on his farm, and live a simple life far from the temptations and torments of the sinful city. But soon they will learn that it’s not easy for anyone to escape their past, even among the rocks and ruins of the mountainside.
Micheál mac Liammóir was a legendary figure, his death in 1978 was front-page news in the Irish Times for three days running. His obituary described him as “the dominant figure in the Irish theatrical world for almost half a century” . “Hundreds Mourn MacLiammóir” was the headline describing the scene in the church the day of his funeral. Ireland’s President Dr. Hillery, “joined actors, artists, writers, Irish language enthusiasts and hundreds of people who had simply enjoyed his performances in mourning.”
Mr. Scott and his wife, son and daughter have long hoped to sell the declining family business so they can pursue dreams now out of reach. When a buyer finally appears and makes a rich offer—Scott hesitates—he doesn’t approve of his buyers plans for the building.
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.
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.
“One might wonder how a story that takes place in a Hungarian haberdashery could possibly suit a 21st-century American audience, but the Mint’s production fits like a glove,”1 hailed TheaterMania of FASHIONS FOR MEN. A delightful comedy of character by Ferenc Molnár, FASHIONS tells the story of shop owner Peter Juhász, a saintly beacon of decency who only sees the good in everyone—making him easy prey for the sinners who surround him.
In the first half of the twentieth century, the Hungarian playwright Ferenc Molnár rose to international acclaim with his cosmopolitan fairy tales for adults. Molnár’s plays inventively blended romantic fantasy and sardonic wit; pointed social satire and polished theatricality. Best known today for the mystical folk play Liliom (1922; the basis of the classic musical Carousel) Molnár was immensely prolific as a journalist, short story writer, novelist, and the author of forty-two plays, many of which were performed widely throughout Europe and America.
Mint Theater continued its exhaustive exploration into the work of Teresa Deevy—which began with WIFE TO JAMES WHELAN in 2010 and TEMPORAL POWERS in 2011—with a production of Deevy’s compelling drama, Katie Roche. The play’s mercurial heroine is a servant girl whose romantic ambitions reach for the heavens. “Katie Roche is the third Deevy work to be produced by the Mint in as many years. It may be the best one yet,” 1 wrote David Barbour in Lighting and Sound America.
Teresa Deevy was born in 1894 as the youngest of thirteen children in Waterford, Ireland. Though she intended to teach, Teresa contracted Meniere’s disease while at University College Dublin and lost her hearing. She went to London to study lip-reading and the theater provided her an opportunity to practice—there she discovered her calling.
“There must be no shortage of little-known, finely crafted, funny, thought-provoking plays exploring the fracturing of English society in the early twentieth century, because the Mint Theatre Company keeps coming up with them,”1 wrote the New Yorker of MARY BROOME. Monkhouse’s biting comedy tells the story of a household turned upside down by an upstairs/downstairs liaison between the ne’er do well son and the honest housemaid.
Allan Monkhouse (1858-1936) was a dramatist, novelist, and critic known for his piquant portrayal of middle class life in northern England. He startled audiences with complex characters, who pierced societal niceties as they grappled with the contradictions of a rapidly changing world.
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