Posted in acceptance, adultery, aspiration, comedy-drama, committment, couples, dalliance, dramedy, infedility, love, love story, loyalty, premieres, romance, serious comedy, The Mint Theatre

Monogamy

Is it really cheating if your spouse approves your infidelity?

Creatives    Directing Jonathan Bank     Sets Carolyn Mraz     Costumes Hunter Kaczorowski     Lights Xavier Pierce     Original Music & Sound Jane Shaw     Projections Katherine Freer     Props Joshua Yocom     Casting Stephanie Klapper, CSA     Product
Max von Essen and Elisabeth Gray in Yours Unfaithfully by Miles Malleson. Photo © Richard Termine.

Exploring the conventions of marriage and the humbug of monogamy, Miles Malleson wrote and published Yours Unfaithfully in 1933. Mint Theater Company is giving this charming and disarming comedy/drama a premiere showing through February 18th, under the direction of Jonathon Bank. For this discovery, we owe them a great thanks.

Creatives    Directing Jonathan Bank     Sets Carolyn Mraz     Costumes Hunter Kaczorowski     Lights Xavier Pierce     Original Music & Sound Jane Shaw     Projections Katherine Freer     Props Joshua Yocom     Casting Stephanie Klapper, CSA     Product
Max von Essen and Mikaela Izquierdo in Yours Unfaithfully by Miles Malleson. Photo © Richard Termine

 

 

Stephen Meredith (Max von Essen) is blissfully enjoying his wife’s beneficence. Anne (Elisabeth Gray) has given her blessing for him to “get into some mischief” with Diana Streathfield (Mikaela Izquierdo) in the hope that an affair would rejuvenate Stephen and end his writer’s block.

Neither she nor Stephen imagine any other consequence. They are acting on their convictions that a strong marriage can withstand other and lesser alliances, just as Stephen’s father, the Rev. Meredith (Stephen Schnetzer) acts on his principles when he is shocked to learn of Stephen and Diana’s dalliance. Anne’s confidant and the Merediths’ friend, Dr. Alan Kirby (Todd Cerveris) preaches the counterbalance of the head to the heart.

The brilliantly deft production of Yours Unfaithfully is a welcome addition to the Mint archive. As is customary in a Mint production, sets and costumes have a panache as well. The scenic (by Carolyn Mraz) and costume (by Hunter Kaczorowski) design are admirable. The top-notch ensemble brings Malleson’s smart vision to life with an easy flair. It’s a tribute to all involved that one can’t peg Yours Unfaithfully as  drama, or drawing-room comedy; it transcends labels and stands on its own.

For more information and tickets, please visit the Mint website.

 

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/

 

 

Posted in comedy-drama

Elegant and sophisticated: Ferenc Molnár’s “Fashions for Men”

Extended to April 12th!

Ferenc Molnár was a sophisticated Budapest-raised playwright who enjoyed international renown from the start of his career in the 19aughts through the 1920s and ’30s.

Mark Bedard, John Tufts, Annie Purcell, Joe Delafield, Maren Searle, and Jeremy Lawrence in "Fashions for Men" by Ferenc Molnár. Photo: Richard Termine
Mark Bedard, John Tufts, Annie Purcell, Joe Delafield, Maren Searle, and Jeremy Lawrence in “Fashions for Men” by Ferenc Molnár.
Photo: Richard Termine

The Mint Theater Company, which has made it its mission to revive and remount plays that are no longer part of the standard canon, presents   Ferenc Molnár’s Fashions for Men through March 29th. Benjamin Glazer’s original translation has been tweaked in this production; Mint Artisitc Director, Jonathan Bank says he made adjustments for the sake of modernity and to dispense with Glazer’s “Britishisms.” Bank’s collaborators in translating the Molnár text are the playwright’s great grandson, Gábor Lukin and Agnes Niemitz of the Hungarian Translation Services.

Mark Bedard and Joe Delafield. Photo by Richard Termine.
Mark Bedard and Joe Delafield. Photo by Richard Termine .

The production, like so many of the Mint offerings, is sumptuous and extremely well-acted. In fact, when we say that the Mint has outdone itself in creating the sets, courtesy of Daniel Zimmerman, and costumes, by Martha Hally, you should know that it was an astonishingly high bar they had to surpass.

The story centers on the fate of the haberdashery owned by Peter Juhász (Joe Delafield.) He is a man of boundless goodness and generosity, and therefore often abused by friends, customers and patrons. His wife, Adele (Annie Purcell) betrays him with his best salesman, Oscar (John Tufts.) Her duplicity nearly bankrupts him, and the Count (Kurt Rhoads) rescues him from an abysmal situation, only to throw him into an even more untenable one.  The pure of heart see no evil, and Juhász labors faithfully, infatuated with his former shopgirl, Paula (Rachel Napoleon.) Complications abound in this simple and cosmopolitan tale.

Kurt Rhoads as the Count  with Rachel Napoleon as Paula in a scene from "Fashions for Men."  Photo: Richard Termine
Kurt Rhoads as the Count with Rachel Napoleon as Paula in a scene from “Fashions for Men.”
Photo: Richard Termine

The acting is faultless and charming. Kurt Rhoads is a personal favorite, but Rachel Napoleon and Joe Delafield are marvellous as well, as is John Tufts whose swarmy self-interest is delicious.  Everyone from Philip (Jeremy Lawrence), the gossipy shop assistant to Mate (Michael Schantz) the ne’er do well on the Count’s estate is credible and completely convincing in their roles. The smaller parts are also splendidly inhabited.

Davis McCallum directs with an artfulness and at a pace that is perfectly suited to the material. In the course of three acts we are transported to Budapest at the turn of the last century, where we feel completely at home.

For more information about Fashions for Men, please visit minttheater.org