Dark humor, absurdism punctuate GBT’s newest play
At first glance, you’d guess you’re about to watch a stage adaptation of Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights, due mostly in part to the Victorian-style threads adorning the cast.
But the Gaslight-Baker Theatre’s newest play “The Moors” is anything but. The Jan Silverman play written in 2017 consciously evokes the work, themes and situations of the novels of the Bronte sisters, says director Eric Beck, but, while it is set in England in the 1840s, this play is about the present.
In this Gothic comedy, a governess arrives on the bleak moors hoping to find a stable family to work for, but finds the opposite as a household drama of power and desire ensues.
Meanwhile, the family’s mastiff falls in love with a moor chicken.
“Silverman’s play was written in 2017, making it one of the rare, very recent plays we have done,” Beck said. “It’s also unusual for us in that it has a lot of elements we don’t do very often: absurdism, dark humor, a love relationship between a dog and a bird, and some other things that I don’t want to give away because it might spoil it.
“But it’s safe to say that we push the envelope on a few things, though audiences will appreciate the play’s laugh-out-loud sense of humor.”
Silverman said she wrote the play to foreground female visibility and relationships, and Beck said the production “very much does that.”
“The only male role is the aforementioned dog,” Beck said. “We’re lucky we have some great actresses who make these female relationships convincing, interesting and multifaceted.”
The characters include:
Agatha (played by Robyn Gammill): The elder spinster sister with a steely charm. She’s dangerous and powerful.
Huldey (Francine Olguin): The younger spinster sister. She wants to be famous.
-Emilie (Dawn Wright Calvert): The newly arrived governess.
Marjory (Kory Taylor): The strategic and ruthless scullery maid.
The Mastiff (Don Owen): The dog. A sad philosopher king.
A Moor-Hen (Melinda Ellisor): A small pragmatic chicken.
Showtimes are 8 p.m. March 15-16 and March 22-23, 2 p.m. March 24, 8 p.m. March 29, and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. March 30.