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NMJC to Present Playhouse Creatures

NMJC to Present Playhouse Creatures photo 2/8/2008 11:19:27 p.m. - Hobbs, NM. For their Spring 2008 production, New Mexico Junior College's Performing Arts Department will present Playhouse Creatures on February 21 - 23 at 8:00 p.m. each evening and on February 24 at 2:00 p.m. in Watson Hall Theatre.

Playhouse Creatures, by April de Angelis, is the story of the very first professional actresses in the English language. A novelty never before seen on the English stage, these women were perceived as circus animals, or as mere "playhouse creatures" by the rest of the world.

In the autumn of 1660, following seventeen years of suppression under Puritan rule and the restoration of King Charles II to the English throne, theatres were reopened and, by royal decree, women were permitted to perform on the London stage for the first time in history. Previously, all female roles in the English theatre had been portrayed by males, and even during Shakespeare's time, just forty-four years earlier, the role of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet would have been performed by a young boy whose voice had not yet changed. It was greatly ironic then, that while these first actresses were finally allowed to enact some of the greatest female roles ever written, their own lives reflected the contempt and disdain with which the world perceived them.

Playhouse Creatures examines these brave and sometimes tragic predecessors who set the stage, if you will, for the performances of Meryl Streep, Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, and many more of our greatest actresses. Playhouse Creatures is the story of the precarious lives of Nell Gwyn, performed by Chantel Wittman; Mary Betterton, performed by Lisa Bridge; Rebecca Marshall, performed by Karen Widman; Elizabeth Farley, performed by Cecily Coleman; and Doll Common, as performed by Pat Darnell. This is their story . . . and most of it is true.

Playhouse Creatures is directed by John R. Rice, NMJC theatre director, and by assistant director Clayborn Griffin, who also doubles as stage manager. Benjamin Ruth serves as production assistant (set) and lighting / sound operator. Mary Knott is props assistant, and Pat Darnell, who portrays Doll Common, also serves as costume assistant.

Tickets for Playhouse Creatures are $8 for adults and $6 for students and senior citizens. For reservations or information, call 575.492.2846. Playhouse Creatures is recommended for mature audiences.

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