March 17 – April 8, 2017
CoHo Productions with Brenan Dwyer and McKenna Twedt present
by April De Angelis
Directed by Alana Byington
Featuring Lorraine Bahr, Brenan Dwyer, Jackyln Maddux, Dainichia Noreault, and McKenna Twedt
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
What does it take to be (or not to be) a woman in the theatre? Playhouse Creatures shamelessly reveals their historic struggle to survive and thrive on stage and behind the scenes. Daring to tread the boards in Restoration England, Nell Gywnn and other leading ladies endured poverty, violence, harassment and social ostracism while under constant pressure to produce new and titillating entertainment. Their successes in the form of leading roles, trysts with the King and eventually shares in the company could – and do – disappear at any time
If the “future is female”, what must we learn from “herstory”? Playwright April De Angelis offers poetic heroines who #resistandpersist, who challenge and inspire others to follow their radical lead. This co-production team and talented cast are all ambitious, creative women who understand today’s pressing demands on women in the arts – between freelancing, teaching, day-jobbing, seeking child-care or relying on others for financial stability in the creative pursuit of “this thing one gives one’s life blood for” to not only survive, but thrive.
“delicious absurd extracts from the heroic repertory and frantic dressing room scenes, the prevailing tone is comic but you’re not allowed to forget the gutter waiting to reclaim these glittering figures.” – Independent
“Flesh and blood heroines…move and inspire…female role models stamped firmly on your heart.” –Time Out
“An immense talent and witty sensitive dialogue…Thoroughly entertaining.” – Tribune
“For over 30 years, fueled by feminism and her own experiences, De Angelis has reclaimed the stage as a place where female experience can be explored and celebrated. Although she admits that it’s sometimes been easier to be a feminist in her writing than it is in everyday life.” -The Guardian
Playhouse Creatures has enjoyed multiple productions throughout the U.K. and United States, and this will be the first in Portland. It premiered in October 1993 at the Haymarket Theatre in England produced by the Sphinx Theatre Company. A revised commission of the play was produced in 1997 at the Old Vic in London where the playwright expanded the script to add four new characters and two more actors.
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
April De Angelis’s plays include Jumpy (Royal Court and West End), Wild East (Royal Court), A Laughing Matter (Out of Joint/NT/tour), The Warwickshire Testimony (RSC), The Positive Hour (Out of Joint/Hampstead/Old Vic; Sphinx), Headstrong (NT Shell Connections), Playhouse Creatures (Sphinx Theatre Company), Hush (Royal Court), Soft Vengeance (Graeae Theatre Company), Amongst Friends (Hampstead), The Life and Times of Fanny Hill (adapted from the James Cleland novel),Ironmistress (ReSisters Theatre Company) andWuthering Heights (adapted from Emily Brontë’s novel for Birmingham Rep). Her work for BBC Radio includes Visitants, The Outlander, which won the Writers’ Guild Award 1992, and Cash Cows for the Woman’s Hour serial. For opera: Flight with composer Jonathan Dove (Glyndebourne), and the libretto for Silent Twins (Almeida).
ABOUT THE CO-PRODUCERS
Brenan Dwyer is an actor, writer, director and producer of stage and screen projects. A Portland native, she’s worked in numerous houses around town as an acting company member at Northwest Classical Theatre Company, and Oregon Children’s Theatre, Artist Repertory Theatre, Imago Theatre, Lakewood Theatre, Action/Adventure Theatre, Willamette Shakespeare and at CoHo in Enjoy.
With particular passion for work by and for women, Brenan is the creator of my web series Potty Talk, delivering three seasons of web-based sketch comedy from a grassroots foundation. She also wrote, directed, and produced No Man’s Land for Action/Adventure Theatre’s Pilot Season that over-sold every night, and was voted by the audience to return in 2016 for a full run.
McKenna Twedt is an actor and costume designer working in Portland and surrounding areas, and a graduate of Western Oregon University with Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting and Costume Design. She’s worked with local companies Theatre Vertigo, PHAME Academy, defunkt, Post5 Theatre, Third Rail Repertory, Tears of Joy, Lakewood Theatre, CoHo Productions and Northwest Classical Theatre. She is a former Third Rail Mentee, and former educator with Tears of Joy Theatre and Tigard High School Theatre Department.