It's 1935; do you know what role you play as a woman?
Fefu and Her Friends, Maria Irene Fornes' unique look at what it means to be a woman in a man's world, arrives at Atlanta's Actor's Express for a run March 8-April 21. Wier Harman, the company's artistic director, stages the show, which opens March 11.
Perhaps the best known of Fornes' plays, Fefu has an unusual second act, where the audience is divided into fourths and taken to different areas around the theatre. There, the protagonist and her companions expound on sex, violence, madness and croquet. The first and third acts take place on the mainstage, where the strong-willed Fefu brings her best friends to her New England home to discuss an educational project. Instead, they discuss everything else.
Fornes is the author of Mud, Letters From Cuba, Enter the Night, Drowning and Abingdon Square. She has won eight Obie Awards, including a lifetime achievement citation for thirty years' work.
Patricia French (AE's Raised in Captivity) stars as Fefu. Her friends are Jennifer Levison (Julia), Brenda Porter (Emma), Kathleen Wattis (Cindy), Sandra Benton (Sue), Joanna Daniel (Paula), Shelby Hofer (Cecilia) and Hope Mirlis (Christina). Designing Fefu are Rochelle Barker (sets), Liz Dorsey (lighting) and Miranda Hoffman (costumes).
Tickets are $20-$25 with preview tickets at $10 and the opening night gala at $50. For reservations, call (404) 607-SHOW. Actor's Express is on the web at http://www.actorsexpress.com.
Some Fornes works, lesser known to the Atlanta area, will get Monday night airings during the run of Fefu and Her Friends. The series, entitled "A Child's Eye, A Lover's Heart," will feature Oscar and Bertha (March 13), Enter the Night (March 20) and Abingdon Square (March 27).
Matt Huff directs both Oscar, the darkly funny tale of an unmarried brother and sister who fight fiercly for love, and Night, which takes place at painful reunion between three old friends. Margaret Baldwin directs Abingdon Square, the early 1900's story of a woman divided by her love for two men and her love for her child.
The readings are free. For reservations, call (404) 607-7469.
— By Christine Ehren