Posted in comedy, drama, theater

How “The New Morality” Turned Society Upside Down

The New Morality, extended to October 25th with a closing night party Mint-ophiles will want to attend. The BIG news, the Mint is moving from its current digs at 311 W 43 St to an as yet unknown destination.

–TB

"Photo: "The New Morality" By Harold Chapin Directed by Jonathan Bank Cast: Christian Campbell Clemmie Evans Michael Frederic Kelly McCready Brenda Meaney Ned Noyes Douglas Rees presented by The Mint Theater Company; Dress rehearsal photographed: Friday, August 21, 2015; 2:00 PM at Mint Theater, New York, NY; Photograph: © 2015 Richard Termine. PHOTO CREDIT - Richard Termine"
“Photo: “The New Morality”
By Harold Chapin
Directed by Jonathan Bank
Cast:
Christian Campbell
Clemmie Evans
Michael Frederic
Kelly McCready
Brenda Meaney
Ned Noyes
Douglas Rees
presented by The Mint Theater Company; Dress rehearsal photographed: Friday, August 21, 2015; 2:00 PM at Mint Theater, New York, NY; Photograph: © 2015 Richard Termine.
PHOTO CREDIT – Richard Termine”

Changing social mores are often cause for consternation. A breach in decorum could lead to  upheaval. In the 1920’s, this new liberalism was widely labelled a new morality. Harold Chapin had a lot to do with the coining of the phrase that was associated with liberalism and different social norms. Chapin, a popular playwright and a war hero who met his untimely death on the battlefield in 1915, left behind a comedy, The New Morality, that was first produced posthumously in 1921 to great acclaim.

The breach in The New Morality, at the Mint through October 18th, seems very slight, yet it unleashes a very funny and poignant play.

 Brenda Meaney and Clemmie Evans in a scene from The New Morality, now extended to October 18th at the Mint Theater.
Brenda Meaney and Clemmie Evans in a scene from The New Morality, now extended to October 18th at the Mint Theater. All photos by Richard Termine.

The Mint Theater Company launches The New Morality in order to commemmorate the centenary and honor the memory of a very fine playwright.

Chapin’s comedy of ill-manners invokes a Shavian heroine ala Man and Superman. In The New Morality, Betty Jones (the superb Brenda Meaney) makes a scene heard up and down river from the deck of her neighbor’s houseboat. Her outrage is over the dance Muriel Wister (an off-stage presence) has led her husband, Col Ivor Jones (Michael Frederic).

Christian Campbell, Brenda Meaney, Ned Noyes, Clemmie Evans, Michael Frederic in a scene from The New Morality, at the Mint Theater.
Christian Campbell, Brenda Meaney, Ned Noyes, Clemmie Evans, Michael Frederic in a scene from The New Morality, at the Mint Theater.

 

Betty will eventually be championed by an unexpected and unlikely source. In the meantime, she has the support of her faithful and mild-mannered friend, Alice Meynell (Clemmie Evans.) Mueriel’s husband, Teddy (Ned Noyes) has the unhappy task of demanding an apology on his wife’s behalf.

Watching Noyes’ Teddy spontaneously combust while “in his cups” is one of the many pleasures The New Morality affords.

In honor of the centenary of Harold Chapin’s heroic death on the battlefield in 1915, Mint Theater (Jonathan Bank, Producing Artistic Director; Jen Soloway, Managing Director) is proud to present The New Morality, now extended for one additional week, to October 18th, at the Mint Theater.
In honor of the centenary of Harold Chapin’s heroic death on the battlefield in 1915, Mint Theater (Jonathan Bank, Producing Artistic Director; Jen Soloway, Managing Director) is proud to present The New Morality, now extended for one additional week, to October 18th, at the Mint Theater.

Is Betty’s moral indignation –and subsequent inflexibility– a new standard for right and wrong?The sense that women act, feel, react, think and see differently from men is a commonplace of psychology. In our modern parlance, human beings are divided as Martians and Venusians, and this observance underlies much of the story of The New Morality. Vive la différence!

The acting, with Jonathan Bank’s tender mercies as director, is perfect. The ensemble are all excellent and accomplished, including Kelly McCready as the maid, Lesceline, and Douglas Rees as a dedicated manservant, Wooten.

Brenda Meaney’s Betty stands out in the cast, displaying a willfulness that is as charming as it is exasperating.

For more information on The New Morality and the 2015-16 Mint season, please visit http://minttheater.org/

 

 

Author:

For an opinionated woman such as I, blogging is an excellent outlet. This is one of many fori that I use to bloviate. Enjoy! Comment on my commentary.

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