Trinity Repertory Company will open the heartwarming new comedy Into the Breeches! this month. Set in 1942 Providence, the play follows the women of the fictional Oberon Playhouse, who endeavor to continue with their Shakespearean production even though the company’s men (including their director) are fighting overseas in World War II. The women’s dedication to each other and the theater is a delightful celebration of art and community.
The production, written by George Brant is directed by Trinity Rep Associate Artistic Director Tyler Dobrowsky and runs approximately two hours and 10 minutes with one 15 minute intermission. Into the Breeches! runs January 25 through February 25, with press opening on Wednesday, January 31 at 7:30 pm. Tickets start at $25. More information can be found at www.trinityrep.com/breeches.
A New Take on an Iconic Era
Into the Breeches! takes a fresh look at women’s experiences of World War II America. Equal parts feel-good and thought-provoking, it follows a group of women who may seem unprepared to fill the roles once owned by men--and yet find the strength to do so with courage and with heart. In the spirit of the classic baseball film A League of Their Own, Into the Breeches! graces us with laughter, warmth, and thoughtfulness while looking at matters of pride, patriotism, and the incredible power of the arts to sustain us even in the most difficult times.
Though not to segregate past and present Curt Columbus, The Arthur P. Solomon and Sally E. Lapides Artistic Director, looks closely at Brant’s Into the Breeches! and its relationship with a modern audience. He said: “Brant’s historical setting simply allows the author to comment on today. He has set the play during World War II, and yet the story really speaks to issues that are central to how we live in the world today.” From the relationship that America faces with its soldiers to how women are able to confront gender politics, modern audiences will find much to relate to in Into the Breeches!.”
More About the Play
It’s 1942 and the Oberon Theater has lost its men to the war efforts. The company’s diva Celeste claims she is “an un-watered flower” withering away without the laughter, tears, and applause of her audience. But Maggie, the director’s wife, has other ideas: she decides to move forward with the planned productions of Henry IV and Henry V, with women filling all the roles. The play’s themes of patriotism, sacrifice, and victory, she insists, are just what the country needs.
More women are enlisted in the production as roles are filled by rookies and old pros alike. It soon dawns on them just how daunting their undertaking has become: can they make it to opening night without tearing one another’s egos to shreds? Can they pull off the production with their dignity--and the theater’s dignity--intact? And perhaps most importantly: how will they find the strength to carry on while their husbands face mortal danger thousands of miles away? They still deliver a delightful celebration of collaboration and persistence when the show must go on! A surprisingly modern and moving comedy about the singular way art and community reveal our boldest selves even in the darkest times.
Trinity Rep commissioned George Brant to write Into the Breeches! with funding from the Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. Specifically, the grant allowed the theater to commission playwrights to write plays with and for Trinity Rep’s resident acting company. The Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust has invested in new play development at Trinity Rep since 2013.
Cast and Creative Team
Joining director Tyler Dobrowsky on the creative team are Boston-based Cameron Anderson (set design), Olivera Gajic (costume design), Porsche McGovern (lighting design), and M. Florian Staab (sound design). Ms. Gajic’s work will be familiar to Trinity Rep audiences; last season she designed Beowulf, Appropriate, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (also directed by Dobrowsky), and Faithful Cheaters. The cast features Trinity Rep company members Phyllis Kay (Celeste), Annie Scurria (Maggie), Janice Duclos (Winifred), Tim Crowe (Ellsworth), Rachael Warren (Grace), and Stephen Berenson (Stuart), as well as Brown/Trinity MFA student Meghan Leathers ’18 (June), and alumna Lynette Freeman ’09 (Ida). The dramaturg is Maurice Decaul ’18 and he serves within the Theater Communications Group (TCG) as the first official artist-in-residence as part of the launch of the Veterans and Theatre Institute (VTI).
Playwright George Brant is best known for the international phenomenon Grounded, which has received over 100 productions in 17 different countries, including a successful off-Broadway production starring Anne Hathaway. A film version also starring Ms. Hathway, is planned. He is the recipient of numerous national awards including the Lucille Lortel Award, the Edgerton Foundation New Play Award, the David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award, and the Smith Prize, among many others. In addition to Grounded his works include Elephant’s Graveyard, Marie and Rosetta, and Grizzly Mama, Good on Paper, The Mourner’s Bench, Salvage, and more.
Community Partnerships and Special Events
Before the show on February 8 at 6:00 pm, Trinity Rep will participate in Context and Conversations at Sophia Academy, at 582 Elmwood Ave in Providence., to discuss themes of the play with students from Sophia Academy and Lincoln School, as well as Jennifer Holl, Assistant Professor in the English department at Rhode Island College.
There will be a Military Weekend for Into the Breeches! during the first weekend in February. Veterans and active service members will be able to receive $10 off tickets with the code MIL10. The code is good for main and prime seating in the performances on Friday, February 2 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, February 3 at 2:00 and 7:30 pm and Sunday, February 4 at 2:00 pm. After three select performances (Feb. 7 & 8) there will be a free special talk back for military patrons.
Other special performances for this production include an Open Captioned performance for the show will be held on Sunday, January 28 at 2:00 pm. The Next Generation Night will be held on Thursday, February 1 and includes a pre-show reception for the next generation of theater-goers. The Teen Talk Back performance will be held on Friday, February 2. Trinity Rep’s Teen Ambassadors will lead a discussion with the audience following the 7:30 performance that evening. More information about all of these events can be found at www.trinityrep.com/breeches.
Into the Breeches! at Trinity Rep is presented by production sponsor Gould Charitable Lead Unitrust. The 2017-18 Season Sponsors are Ocean State Job Lot andRhode Island Council on the Arts. Southwest is the official airline of Trinity Rep.
TRINITY REPERTORY COMPANY
Rhode Island’s Tony Award-winning theater, Trinity Rep has created unparalleled professional theater for and with its community since its founding in 1963. Trinity Rep strives to facilitate human connection and has been a driving force behind the creativity that fuels and defines the region for more than 50 years.
Trinity Rep is committed to reinventing the public square and inspiring dialogue by creating emotionally-stimulating live productions that range from classical to contemporary and innovative education programs for all ages and abilities. Its annual production of A Christmas Carol has brought families together for 40 years and made memories for over a million audience members.
Subscriptions for the 2017-18 season are now on sale. The season includes Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, Skeleton Crew by Dominique Morisseau, Into the Breeches! by George Brant, Othello by William Shakespeare, Native Gardens by Karen Zacarías, and Ragtime by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow. For more information and to purchase tickets, call the box office at (401) 351-4242 or visit Trinity Rep's website at www.TrinityRep.com.
Photo: Mark Turek