Women Without Men
By Hazel Ellis
Directed by Jenn Thompson
January 30th through March 26th
- Tuesday – Saturday 7:30 pm
- Saturday & Sunday 2:30 pm
The Mint’s next production, Women Without Men, will begin performances January 30th and continue through March 26th at Stage II space at New York City Center (131 West 55th Street).
Hazel Ellis’s Women Without Men will be directed by Jenn Thompson (Abundance, The Late Christopher Bean, The Eccentricities of A Nightingale). The play explores the clash of conflicting natures and petty competitions that erupt amongst the cloistered teaching staff of an all-girls boarding school.
Hazel Ellis began her theatrical career in the 1930s as a member of the acting ensemble of the Gate Theatre in Dublin. Her first play as author—a study of Lord Byron titled Portrait in Marble—opened at the Gate in 1936. Reviewing that production, The Irish Times noted, “Dublin is able to welcome a good play by a new Irish author—a sufficiently rare occurrence, and one which suggests that Irish drama is about to take a turn for the better.” Her only other play, Women Without Men, was produced only once in 1938 at the Gate Theatre. “Here is a very young author and this is her second play, yet she had the wisdom to give us one of the finest pieces of true realism we have seen in Dublin,” wrote The Irish Tatler and Sketch. The Evening Herald echoed the praise: “Clever characterization, witty dialogue and a serious vein go to make Women Without Men one of the outstanding successes of the present season.” Despite acclaim, the play has never been published or revived.
Mint’s production of Women Without Men will be its first in 77 years—and its American Premiere! Notably, it will also continue Mint’s concerted effort to produce the work of forgotten female dramatists. “Although the Mint Theater Company is justly lauded for its rehabilitation of forgotten works, I don’t think Jonathan Bank’s outfit gets enough credit for its unwavering dedication to women writers,” wrote Elizabeth Vincentelli of the New York Post in 2012. “For me, it’s the plays written by women that have resonated the most. Maybe because the pay-off is sweeter: these women had descended into an obscurity even more pitch-black than that of the male writers produced by the Mint — if it’s hard for female writers to make it to the stage, it’s even harder for their works to be revived.” In the past Mint Theater has produced plays by Cicely Hamilton, Susan Glaspell, Rachel Crothers, Githa Sowerby, Teresa Deevy, and others. Hazel Ellis joins the list of extraordinary — but shamefully neglected — female playwrights.