The New Morality
By Harold Chapin
Directed by Jonathan Bank
August 22nd 2015 through October 25th 2015
311 West 43rd Street, 3rd Floor
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 rising star, Harold Chapin had numerous one-acts and three full-length plays produced before he was killed on the battlefield in 1915 at the age of 29. “When Harold Chapin fell in France the modern British theatre lost a comic writer of high order,” declared the Sunday Times. “For intellectual foolery his New Morality has no equal in present-day work.” The play was produced five years after his death to great acclaim, and then languished in obscurity for decades until our “lavishly crafted”1 revival introduced New York theatergoers to Chapin’s “unabashed comedy with bite.”2
“The Mint’s eminently satisfying production of The New Morality may spur renewed interest in Chapin’s output and cause us to wonder what else he might have achieved had his life not been cut short before his 30th birthday,”3 wrote Talkin’ Broadway. “The script combines a jigger or two of Harley Granville Barker, a measure of Shaw, a dash of Wilde and stirs as needed,” remarked The New York Times. “The writing is charming and finely observed…The direction, by the Mint’s artistic director, Jonathan Bank, is appealing and apposite. The acting is adept, with particularly impressive turns by Brenda Meaney as Betty and Ned Noyes as the husband of her putative rival.”4
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- Sets Steven C. Kemp
- Costumes Carisa Kelly
- Lights Christian DeAngelis
- Original Music & Sound Jane Shaw
- Props Joshua Yocom
- Casting Judy Bowman
- Dialects & Dramaturgy Amy Stoller
- Production Stage Manager Kathy Snyder
- Assistant Stage Manager Arthur Atkinson
- Illustration Stefano Imbert
- Graphics Hey Jude Design, Inc.
- Advertising The Pekoe Group
- Press David Gersten & Associates
SHAW AND MORALITY, NEW AND OLD
DAVID STALLER, GINGOLD THEATRICAL GROUP
David Staller is Founding Artistic Director of Gingold Theatrical Group, which presents work championing human rights with the writings of George Bernard Shaw as its guide. Since 2010, he has given the annual keynote address at the International Shaw Society symposium at Canada’s Shaw Festival. David will discuss Shaw’s views on morality, which may have influenced Chapin.
BETTY JONES: WICKED OR WONDERFUL?
SARAH APPLETON, OLD DOMINION UNIVERSITY
Sarah Appleton is Senior Lecturer of English at Old Dominion University. Her 2001 book The Bitch is Back: Wicked Women in Literature examines the archetypal “bitch” character in literature: the woman who is willfully and unapologetically ‘bad’ by societal standards. Sarah’s post-show discussion will examine the character of Betty Jones through this lens.
"THEY DO PUT YOU IN THE DOCK FOR LIBEL, DON'T THEY?"
BENJAMIN C. ZIPURSKY, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY
Benjamin C. Zipursky is Professor of Law and James H. Quinn ’49 Chair at Fordham Law School. In The New Morality, Betty Jones insults her neighbor and refuses to apologize, resulting in the threat of a “criminal libel” lawsuit. Ben’s post-show discussion will focus on the play’s interweaving of feminist themes and defamation law.
LIFE ON A HOUSEBOAT
LESLIE DAY, NATURALIST
Leslie Day is the author of three nature guides to New York City. She taught science for 20 years and currently leads nature walks in the city. The New Morality takes place on a houseboat on the River Thames. Leslie will cull from her 40-year history as a resident of the 79th Street Boat Basin, to discuss daily life on a houseboat.
"BECAUSE SHE LIVES IN THE 20TH CENTURY": THE NEW MORALITY AND THE NEW WOMAN
VLASTA VRANJES, FORDHAM UNIVERSITY
Vlasta Vranjes is a professor in the English Department at Fordham University. She is currently writing a book titled English Vows: Marriage Law and National Identity in the Nineteenth-Century Novel. Vlasta’s post-show discussion will focus on The New Morality‘s treatment of gender relations and will provide historical and cultural context for the play.
"YOU'RE NOT A SUFFRAGETTE": THE SOCIAL POLITICS OF HAROLD CHAPIN
J. ELLEN GAINOR, CORNELL UNIVERSITY
J. Ellen Gainor is Professor of Theatre and Associate Dean of the Graduate School at Cornell. A specialist in British and American drama of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and women’s dramaturgy, she most recently co-edited The Norton Anthology of Drama. Professor Gainor will discuss the social and political context of Harold Chapin’s work.
HAROLD CHAPIN'S CANDID COMEDIES
MAYA CANTU, THEATER HISTORIAN AND DRAMATURG
Maya Cantu is a theater historian, scholar and dramaturg. She received a D.F.A. in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at Yale School of Drama. Her book American Cinderellas on the Broadway Musical Stage: Imagining the Working Girl from “Irene” to “Gypsy” will be available through Palgrave Macmillan this October. Maya will discuss the life and work of Harold Chapin.