Women on Fire to Be Relit at Cherry Lane Jan. 7, 2004

News   Women on Fire to Be Relit at Cherry Lane Jan. 7, 2004
Women on Fire — a new play by Irene O'Garden starring two-time Tony-winner Judith Ivey, which recently opened at the Cherry Lane Studio Theatre on Nov. 19, after previews from Nov. 11—will return to that stage after the holiday.
Judith Ivey in Women on Fire
Judith Ivey in Women on Fire Photo by Carol Rosegg

After closing on Dec. 21 and taking a 2-1/2-weeks hiatus, the show will reopen for a Jan. 7-Feb. 8, 2004, run. Women on Fire previously played the Cherry Lane Oct. 14-25.

Mary B. Robinson directs. Pat Dignan is the lighting designer, Bart Fasbender sculpts the sound and costumes and sets are by Michael Krass.

The work is described as "an evening that celebrates contemporary women, diverse in calling and character, each on fire in her own way, burning with pain, passion, fear, wisdom, faith, a sense of justice, and even the desire to shop." Ivey is the only actor in the piece. She plays 12 "passionate women on the brink of self-discovery."

Ivey met O'Garden, who is the wife of playwright John Pielmeier, several years ago when Ivey was acting on Broadway in Pielmeier's Voices in the Dark. "She started writing these pieces and asked if she could give them to me," Ivey told Playbill On-Line. "She calls them 'persona poems.' They are monologues. She handed me quite a few, far more than I do in this evening."

Two years ago, Ivey performed a number of the pieces at a college where she was teaching a master class. A second reading at SUNY Fredonia (where she had another teaching gig) followed. "[Irene] was thrilled. She said, 'You're doing them exactly as I heard them.'" Ivey then performed them at the Actors Theatre of Nantucket. A one-night presentation in 2002 led the Cherry Lane to pick up the project. Women features 12 of O'Garden's monologues, including that of a photographer whose recollections of the many women she's captured on film lead into the other selections.

"We begin with the photographer, whose studio burned down," said Ivey. “Everything is related to fire in some form. I move into a Midwestern housewife. Then, to jump around a bit, I play a high-powered ad exec; a woman from Maine who talks about gardening; a women who talks about an abortion she had when she was younger; a black construction worker; and the last one of the evening is a 93-year-old woman who talks about living life in the moment."

The versatile Ivey has appeared on stages of all descriptions. Recent credits include Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the Alley Theatre, The Women of Lockerbie Off-Broadway for The New Group and Follies on Broadway. She won her Tony Awards for her work in Steaming and Hurlyburly.

Tickets are $35 each and can be purchased by calling Cherry Lane Theatre at (212) 239-6200.

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