by Elizabeth Baker
Directed by Britt Berke
June 29, 7:30
With a brief introduction by Kristin Celello
Theatre Row: 410 West 42nd St.
(Free for Members of the First-Priority Club, $25 for non-members)
This play premiered 21 years after Baker made her dramatic debut with CHAINS. In both plays Baker considers the ties that bind, but PENELOPE… is a “radical and explicit challenge to the institution of marriage as it stands.” Audiences in 1930 were less interested in the social issues that Baker was dramatizing than they had been in 1909. PENELOPE FORGIVES had a brief run and was Baker’s only produced play that was never published. Mint obtained a copy of the typescript from the Lord Chamberlain’s collection at the British Library and is delighted to share it with Mint’s audience.
“The 1930 Players attained some measure of distinction with their first venture, as it was a new play from the pen of Miss Elizabeth Baker. From the authoress of CHAINS a play is always welcome. In her present work, Miss Baker has once again shown that she can write with sympathy, understanding and not a little humor, about mankind’s frailties. This time it is “mankind” used in its most restricted sense—for the theme is masculine marital infidelity.”
KRISTIN CELELLO is Associate Professor of History at Queens College. She earned her PhD in history from the University of Virginia in 2004. She is the author of Making Marriage Work: A History of Marriage and Divorce in the Twentieth-Century United States (University of North Carolina Press, 2009) and the co-editor of a volume titled Domestic Tensions, National Anxieties: Global Perspectives on Marriage, Crisis, and Nation (Oxford University Press, 2016). Her current book project is After Divorce: Parents, Children, and the Modern American Family.