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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.
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.
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.
“There’s a major rediscovery at the Mint Theater Company and what else is new?”1 wrote Peter Filichia of our production of Hazel Ellis’ WOMEN WITHOUT MEN. A workplace drama laced with biting humor, WOMEN WITHOUT MEN is set in the teacher’s lounge of a private girls’ boarding school in Ireland in the 1930s. The play explores the clash of conflicting natures and petty competitions that erupt amongst the school’s cloistered teaching staff.
By Maya Cantu
“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.
LONDON WALL premiered in 1931 at the Duke of York’s Theatre, one of five plays by John Van Druten that enjoyed success in London in the early 30’s. The play was acclaimed for its deftly etched characters and richly detailed atmosphere, yet it languished in obscurity until London’s Finborough Theater successfully revived it in 2013. One year later our warmly-received production marked the play’s American premiere.
Best known today for such midcentury Broadway hits as Old Acquaintance, The Voice of the Turtle, I Remember Mama, Bell, Book and Candle, and I Am a Camera (which inspired the classic Broadway musical Cabaret), John Van Druten wrote deftly observed, character-driven plays that ranged from the realistic atmosphere of his early West End plays, to the sentimental charm of his wartime hits, to the daring allurements of his final works.
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.
“The Mint Theater Company, one of New York’s most admired Off-Broadway troupes, specializes in neglected plays that have slipped through the cracks. More often than not it comes up with gems, among the most notable of which was Rachel Crothers’s SUSAN AND GOD, first seen in 1937 and revived by the Mint to impressive effect in 2006. Now the company has gone back to the same well with an equally strong staging of another Crothers play, A LITTLE JOURNEY, which hasn’t been performed professionally in New York since it closed on Broadway in 1919—and guess what? It’s just as good.”1
Rachel Crothers (1878-1958) was among America’s most successful and produced playwrights during the first three decades of the twentieth century. Nearly 30 of her plays opened on Broadway between 1906 and 1937. “Although it rare now to find anyone who has heard of her,” wrote the New York Times in 1980, “Miss Crothers at the apex of her career was a symbol of success in the commercial theater.”
In 2010 Mint claimed the role of champion on behalf of the brilliant, but forgotten Irish playwright, Teresa Deevy. The ambitious Teresa Deevy Project, which includes three productions, as well as two published compilations of her plays, was launched with her “crisp psychological drama,”1 WIFE TO JAMES WHELAN.
Teresa Deevy (1894-1963) After years of rejection, Deevy had her first play produced at Ireland’s Abbey Theater in 1930, at the age of 36. One of Ireland’s leading critics predicted: “The new dramatist from whom most may be expected in the future is Miss T. Deevy.”
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