Rachel Crothers' He and She, a 1911 Battle of the Sexes Play, Gets NYC Staging by TACT

News   Rachel Crothers' He and She, a 1911 Battle of the Sexes Play, Gets NYC Staging by TACT TACT/The Actors Company Theatre presents Rachel Crothers' He and She as its latest "in concert" play staging, Nov. 19-21 at Florence Gould Hall in Manhattan.

The company's unique presentations of "neglected or rarely produced plays of literary merit" offer live music, a lighting and costume design, but scripts in hand and a performance style with actors facing-front. The style serves to underline the text.

TACT company member Kyle Fabel directs He and She, billed as an early feminist battle of the sexes drama from 1911. "He" and "She" are Tom and Ann Herford, husband and wife artists whose marriage is threatened when they both compete for a prestigious commission. Written in 1911, the three-act play it didn't get to Broadway until 1920, with the playwright in the role of Ann.

"Decades ahead of its time, He and She examines the plight of the emancipated woman and the double standard she must confront when trying to reconcile career and family," according to TACT notes.

The cast includes TACT company members Eve Bianco, Rachel Fowler, Greg McFadden, Gloria Moore, James Fowler and guest artists Paul DeBoy and Angela Reed.

The production team includes Shelley Tseng (assistant director), Mary Louise Geiger (lighting designer), Steve Cozzi (costume coordinator) and Jonathan Faiman (original music). Dawn Dunlop is production stage manager. According to TACT, Rachel Crothers (1878-1958) "never identified herself as a feminist, but nearly all of her plays dealt with, as she phrased it, 'the changing social attitude towards the morals of women.' When her physician father's successful practice suddenly went bankrupt, her mother picked up a copy of 'Gray's Anatomy,' leading her to attend medical school and go on to become one of the most successful female doctors of her day. After graduating from Illinois State University in 1892, Rachel studied dramatic art in Boston and New York City and even appeared with several theatrical companies in New York City. After a few attempts at one-acts, she wrote her first full-length Broadway play The Three of Us in 1906. Although He and She was written in 1911, it took Ms. Crothers nearly 10 years to bring it to Broadway. When she did, she took on the role of the woman torn between her love for her family and her need to bring her art into being. While nearly all of the contemporary reviews raved about her skills as a dramatist, they disagreed wildly as to what she was trying to say."

He and She was successful, but did not have a major revival until 1980 when it was mounted by the BAM Theatre Company.

Saturday-Monday performances will take place at Florence Gould Hall at the French Institute Alliance Français, 55 East 59th Street, Nov. 19 at 7:30 PM; Nov. 20 at 2 PM; and Nov. 21 at 7:30 PM.

Tickets are $20 and may be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at (212) 307-4100. Tickets can also be purchased at the Florence Gould Hall box office located at 55 East 59th Street (between Madison and Park Avenues). The remainder of the season includes Both Your Houses by Maxwell Anderson (March 11-13, 2006) and The Hot L Baltimore by Lanford Wilson (May 6-8, 2006). For more information on TACT, visit www.TACTnyc.org.

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TACT's co-artistic directors are Scott Alan Evans, Cynthia Harris and Simon Jones. TACT "celebrates language, the actor, and the spoken word. Founded by professional actors in 1992, TACT is dedicated to presenting neglected or rarely performed plays of literary merit with a focus on creating theatre from its essence: the text and the actor's ability to bring it to life."