The upcoming world premiere of Jaclyn Backhaus’ new comedy Wives has found its cast. Directed by Margot Bordelon at Playwrights Horizons, the company will be made up of Purva Bedi (Dance Nation, India Pale Ale), Mahira Kakkar (Miss Witherspoon, The Resistible Rise Of Arturo Ui), Sathya Sridharan (India Pale Ale, Two Mile Hollow), and Adina Verson (Indecent, Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Betties).
Wives, as previously announced, will kick off Playwrights Horizons’ 2019–2020 season August 23.
The new play traverses time and place, from the brawny castles of 16th century France, to the rugged plains of 1960s Idaho, to the strapping fortresses of 1920s India. In each setting, we’re introduced to the wives and paramours of Great Men—including King Henry II and Maharaja Madho Singh II—and shown what happens once the crushing weight of their Greatness has been lifted.
The world premiere marks Backhaus’ return to Playwrights following the acclaimed Men on Boats in 2016. In her newest work, she continues to re-imagine history through a feminist lens while applying contemporary artistic sensibility to the past.
"It’s sort of a writerly impulse of mine: the first entry point in my writing comes from a very personal place, and anachronistic writing is my attempt to access characters in my voice, who might otherwise be inaccessible to me," says the playwright. "It’s an initial way in, but as I revise toward what is delightful to me in later drafts, a lot of that language stays in because writing it was fun and pleasurable; it made me want to write more, and faster. What’s been really fun about this particular project is balancing the research that has informed the play, the anachronism in the language, the various worlds of the play, and their stakes."
The creative team for Wives includes Reid Thompson (scenic design), Valérie Thérèse Bart (costume design), Amith Chandrashaker (lighting design), Kate Marvin (sound design and original music), J. Jared Janas (hair and wig design), and Erin Gioia Albrecht (production stage manager).