Karen Houppert and Steven Nunn's fact-based political drama, The Packwood Papers, has extended its engagement at Off-Broadway's 78th Street Theatre Lab two weeks past its original closing date, to Nov. 3.
Using transcripts from the three-year Senate Ethics Committee Investigations into allegations of sexual harrassment filed against Senator Robert Packwood, the play "explores the strange, contradicing duality of Packwood's life and career."
Though a strong supporter of such feminist causes as the ERA, the pro-choice movement and Anita Hill's accusations against soon-to-be-justice Clarence Thomas, Packwood, chair of the Finance Committee, was also called to account for his actions by 48 different women.
When his diary excerpts came out, they showed a man who was privately "insecure, inept and even dangerous."
In her review of The Packwood Papers for The Village Voice (Oct. 15), Francine Russo wrote, "As the senator fondles, slobbers over and grabs at assorted women in red business suits, the play socks us with just how repulsive and frightening these advances are. It's smart and funny, and its outrage is clean. I wished only for some new insight beyond how deeply egregious Packwood's behavior was." Appearing in The Packwood Papers are Katherine Heasley, John Marino, Ruth Nightengale, Michael Puzzo, Kimberly Reiss and Toby Wherry (as Packwood).
Karen Houppert, a staff reporter for the Village Voice, won a National Women's Political Caucus for Best Feature award in 1993.
Stephen Nunn's work has been produced at HERE, Mabou Mines and Yale University. Director Eric Nightengale, originally from Chicago, is the artistic director of the 78th Street Theatre Lab.
The drama, in stylized but realistic vignettes, is extending the run of Packwood Papers two weeks past its original closing date, to Nov. 3.
For tickets and information, call (212)873-9050.
-- By David Lefkowitz