The solo play, set in 1969, is a re-telling of a first-person novella by existentialist-feminist writer Simone de Beauvoir, about the betrayal and self-pity one woman feels in her flat on New Year's Eve.
Like other works in rep in the Brits Off Broadway festival, The Woman Destroyed plays the 59E59 Theaters on East 59th Street.
Quick, who adapted the novella by writer de Beauvoir (called "Monologue" in a collection, "The Woman Destroyed"), previously starred in the play at the Edinburgh Festival and then in London for a season at the Lyric Hammersmith. Richard Cottrell directs.
"It's about a woman who is apparently very together," explained Quick, widely known in America for playing Julia Flyte in the TV miniseries, "Brideshead Revisited."
"She looks very together," Quick told Playbill On-Line. "She looks as if she has a life other people would envy. She lives in a nice apartment, she has had loads of fun in her life, but it's New Year's Eve and she's all dressed up and nobody calls her. So she lets all these demons out, and gradually we see what goes on underneath this apparently in-control person in her beautiful clothes." The lady is hoping for an invitation out, "but nobody calls, and midnight comes, and everybody outside is celebrating the New Year and she gets more and more mad about it. At one point, she goes, 'Look at me, I'm on the shelf! I'm too young, it's not fair. I was made for the good life. I'm fed up with it, fed up with it, fed up, fed up, fed up, fed up, fed up, fed up...' She does 80 'fed ups.' She does let a few cats out of a few bags. That's really what attracted me to it."
Quick added: "There are quite a lot of parts these days for women of other kinds, but there aren't very many that show you the dark underbelly of an apparently well-heeled woman of a certain age."
Simone de Beauvoir, who died in 1986, had said she wrote the piece as a sort of "morality tale," Quick explained.
"She made her name as the author of 'The Second Sex,' which was really the first analysis of what state women were in around the world," Quick said. "One of the things she warned against was women who didn't have an independent life of their own, who were only able to give themselves any value by saying, 'I am somebody's daughter' or 'I am this man's wife' or 'I am the mother of this very brilliant child, who is a credit to me.' She had tried to expose the sort of dangers of only living in what she would have called a narcissistic way: Seeing yourself reflected in someone else's glory. Because if it screws up, then you're left with nothing."
Quick's work on the London stage has included both the classics and musical theatre, ranging from Troilus and Cressida to The Threepenny Opera. Most recently she starred in After Mrs. Rochester in the West End (director Polly Teale won The Evening Standard's Best Director Award), and has just finished a tour of the production in Australia and New Zealand.
Quick was the first ever Woman President of Oxford University’s Dramatic Society.
Performances of The Woman Destroyed play the intimate Theater C at 59E59 Theaters, on East 59th Street between Park and Madison. Opening is May 1. Performances play April 27-May 16: Tuesday-Saturday at 8 PM, Wednesday & Saturday at 2 PM and Sunday at 3 PM & 7 PM.
Tickets range $30-$50. For information, call (212) 279 4200.
For scheduling information, visit www.59e59.org.
Brits Off-Broadway is a festival of 11 new works from British writers, performers and companies.
If you've only read about such famous festivals as the Edinburgh Fringe or about ambitious Off-Broadway-style UK companies committed to new voices, this is a rare chance to witness the kind of work done over there, but on American soil.
Also in continuing rep through July 4 in three different spaces at 59E59 Theaters: