The Women, a play written by Clare Boothe Luce, is a close look at the relationships between women. From February 7 to 17, 2018, the Walterdale Theatre will have nine showings of The Women, directed by Catherine Wenschlag. We interviewed Director Wenschlag to talk about the importance of The Women.
“I wanted to direct a play that was written about women, by women, for women. I wanted [to put on the play] to speak to women,” said Ms. Wenschlag.
This play comments on the contrasting nature of the relationships between women. “Women are both each other’s best friends and worst enemies… We uplift and support each other, but at the same time, we are competing over limited opportunities,” she explained.
The design of the costumes and the set reflects that message. The backgrounds and set will have a contrast between round and sharp angles to reflect the complexity of the character’s relationships. The costumes will take inspiration from the time period their character’s personal values come from. This will help give the character’s outfits a timeless yet distinctive look. This is important because there are still women who have the same attitudes from those time periods today.
The biggest changes made to the script were alter lines of dialogue that are politically incorrect. The changes were made to prevent audience members from being taken out of the play. Even though offensive terms were removed, no additional changes were made to the old slang. The director worked with the actresses to ensure that the delivery of the lines would reflect the meanings of the phrases.
The diverse age group of the cast of The Women serves the needs of the people in our community. The Women will contain actresses from ages 17-75. Women from all life stages with different personal experiences will be on stage. This variety will help the characters shine with authenticity, since they will be close to or the same age as their characters.
An important thing to note about The Women is that there are no men present on stage. Men are referenced in dialogue and some influence the plot, but they are not seen. It is written on page 2 of the manuscript in capital letters, “IN ALL PERFORMANCES OF THIS PLAY, NO CHANGES MAY BE MADE TO THE GENDER OF THE CHARACTERS.” The entire cast must be women. Women are often underrepresented in all forms of media, so to have a play with a cast of entirely women is progressive even today. This play was first performed on Broadway in 1936, which was 82 years ago. Despite the fact that this play was written so long ago, it continues to reflect the attitudes and ideas of modern women. Ms. Wenschlag hopes that the audience will question what the play says about the world and people around them.
– Michael Menzies