(I am rerunning my June 2009 review of this show for its May 2011 run at the WAM Theatre O Solo Mama Mia Festival.)
And now for something completely different: Sex at Ventfort Hall!
I know that those venerable walls have seen plenty of hanky-panky over the past century or so, but somehow those massive great “cottages” seem as sterile and uptight as the prim and proper, tightly corseted, buttoned-up exterior their nineteenth century builders and owners wished to project.
Over the past eight years, Shakespeare & Company has teamed with Ventfort Hall Mansion and Museum of the Gilded Age to present annual one-woman shows set in the period when the mansion was in its hey-day. The so-called Gilded Age (1865-1901) in America was anything but dull and the Morgans who built Ventfort Hall were well connected to interesting people locally, nationally and internationally. Every year I knew the show at Ventfort Hall would introduce me to a fascinating woman whose impact on history had been, like most women’s contributions, egregiously overlooked.
You may not be aware but museum’s programming, even what they sell in their gift shop, must be “mission related.” Thus the shows at Ventfort Hall have been very, very laced-up and proper. How to unlace and present a one-woman, mission-related play with sex appeal? Commission Juliane Hiam to write it.