The Women Witty satire at NWSA launches 2008-2009 Theater Season

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The Women
Witty satire at NWSA
launches 2008-2009 Theater Season
MIAMI— Claire Booth Luce’s popular 1936 comedy of manners, The Women, launches New World School of the Arts’   NWSA Theater students Elyse Fisher, Betsy Graver and Jehane Serralles2008-2009 Theater season. With an all-women cast of nineteen students playing thirty nine characters, this timeless, yet relevant production challenges its actors as it exposes the trials and tribulations of high society women of an era gone by. The six-day staging, dedicated to “The Women’s Fund”, opens with an invitation-only reception at 6:00 PM on Friday, October 10 at the New World Gallery. The premiere follows at 7:30 PM at the Louise O’ Gerrits Theatre, 25 N.E. 2nd Street downtown Miami. Additional performances will be Saturday, October 11, 17 and 18 at 7:30 PM, and Sunday, October 12 and 19 at 2:00 PM.  General admission is $12, students and seniors $5.
Directed by NWSA theater faculty Gail S. Garrisan, the demanding comedy showcases the talent of all NWSA Junior and Senior college women as well as two of the high school seniors. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for all the women to collaborate on a production at the same time,” mentioned Garrisan enthusiastically, “but it’s also a great challenge, in particular as the students contextualize the subject matter – from researching the historical perspectives to politics and politeness, to pouring tea and learning how to keep the seams of their stockings straight! A period piece that showcases dress lengths and drawing rooms, The Women illustrates that in seventy-two years one could expect that there have been a lot of changes; however, the outcome demonstrates that the plot is entirely current. When all is said and done we can be reminded of that old adage ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’.”
The Women, an acidic commentary on the pampered lives and power struggles of a group of wealthy Manhattan socialites, was written by Luce in response to the societal dichotomy evident as the country was trying to recover from the depression. “There was a very clear and very deep socioeconomic divide,” explains Garrisan, “The rich were very rich and the poor… well, very poor - some women worked, but mostly out of necessity. It was very much a man’s world and that glass ceiling was pretty low. Some women were obsessed with their looks, staying young, buying the latest anything, needed or not. The fact that Claire Booth Luce singled out women to be examined in her play was very unusual as women were rarely the main characters in plays –and it was still a time when women were (at least on the surface) revered and held as the model for all that was good.  Luce wrote this play to shine a different kind of light on specific types of women whom she had grown to know quite well; pretentious, bored, society women and the women who served them.”  Luce’s late 1930’s production was immensely popular with the public, though received coolly by critics. It ran for 657 performances.
Theater and music theater students at NWSA hone their craft through acting technique, movement and speech classes, focusing on fundamentals of physical and emotional preparation. With performance at its core, training is based on the classical texts and the principles of drama as well as practical incursions into the contemporary and experimental edges of theater. Consequently, alumni are found performing on stage nationally and internationally and their talent and vision are recognized and highly regarded in the industry.
New World School of the Arts was created by the Florida Legislature as a center of excellence in the performing and visual arts, and is an educational partnership of Miami Dade County Public Schools, Miami Dade College and the University of Florida. Through its partnership with the University of Florida NWSA it is able to grant Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Music degrees.
For more information about the theater program at NWSA, call (305) 237-3541 or visit
Photo Caption: (left to right) NWSA Theater students Elyse Fisher, Betsy Graver and Jehane Serralles.
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