Mary (Mott) and Edith (Wharton) Delight at the Unicorn Theatre [Berkshire on Stage]
Review and Discussion by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray
Gail M. Burns: The weekend began with the four gentlemen in the Oldcastle Theatre Company’s Sherlock Holmes – Knight’s Gambit. That was followed by three fascinating ladies on stage at the Berkshire Theatre Group’s (BTG) double-header Mary and Edith: Stories by Women a Century Apart. The contrast between the two was dramatic.
Larry Murray: Yes, and even though two of those ladies were of the same Edwardian ilk of the gentlemen, I enjoyed the women far more than the men. The title Mary and Edith made me think of Downton Abbey‘s Lady Mary and Lady Edith, though they would likely disagree as to the propriety of the Edith Wharton tale, Roman Fever, which opens the evening at the BTG. Lady Edith of course had a remarkable feminist outlook for her day, and would no doubt love the final retort of the tale which ends the play.
Gail: Lady Sibyl was the true feminist of the Crawley girls, but I think all three sisters would have read and enjoyed Edith Wharton. Even the Dowager Duchess would have gotten a surreptitious kick out of Wharton’s genteel shocker.
Larry: Eric Hill has adapted Wharton’s popular short story, Roman Fever, into a half-hour curtain raiser. Tara Franklin narrates, and Kate Maguire and Kim Taylor play Mrs. Delphin Slade (Alida) and Mrs. Horace Ansley (Grace) who find themselves back in Rome chaperoning their own daughters’ amorous adventures some 25 years after their own girlhood rivalry in the same locale. We see them chatting on a hotel terrace at dusk, overlooking the hills of Rome, suggested via a splendid set by Carl Sprague, who also did the Sherlock Homes set. Busy guy!