Arena Liberates' on the Verge'

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), May 13, 2006 | Go to article overview

Arena Liberates' on the Verge'


Byline: Jayne Blanchard, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Remember when we faced the future with eagerness rather than dread?

Eric Overmyer's whimsical 1985 play "On the Verge or the Geography of Yearning" transports us to two points in time when Americans felt on the cusp of a brave new world: the Victorian era and the 1950s. They were particularly potent times to be a woman, constrained by society's roles yet enjoying selective freedoms and eyeing future decades of unprecedented activism and liberation.

In Arena Stage's vibrant production, directed by Tazewell Thompson, "Verge" opens with three richly dressed Victorian women standing in three spotlights. In their furbelow-encrusted, jewel-colored gowns, they resemble porcelain figures displayed in a glass case, but this illusion is dispensed quickly as the women get down to business. They are not ornaments, but lady explorers trailblazers who escape the stern gender roles of their time through perilous travel.

Inspired by actual female explorers Mary Kingsley, Alexandra David-Neel and Fanny Bullock Workman, the characters gather on the threshold of exploring uncharted territory, "Terra Incognita," toasting their journey with lace parasols instead of crossed sabers.

Mary (Laiona Michelle, nimbly capturing the intellectual rigor and romanticism of her character) is the disciplined academic, combining a love of science with a profound joy in discovering the unknown.

Fanny (Molly Wright Stuart, witty and appealing as the avidly feminine Fanny) is an impeccably well-mannered traditionalist. She totes a full tea service and evening gowns in her backpack and counts among her greatest accomplishments bringing croquet to a tribe of headhunters in the wild.

Alex (Susan Bennett) is the youngest and most forward thinking of the trio, already a fan of ditching her petticoats for men's trousers and dreaming up peppy song lyrics like Irving Berlin in a corset. Miss Bennett's performance is distinguished by the brilliant idiosyncratic touches she gives her character her whole body shimmies and dances with every transmission from the future as though she is constantly undergoing a pop-culture mutation.

The three strike out on a landscape at once geographical and interior. They endure jungle heat and muck and fields of glacial ice on their journey. (Donald Eastman's subtly effective set design suggests changes in locale through patterns of light scattered across a white expanse.) They encounter such fanciful archetypal characters as Yeti, a Gorge Troll, a friendly cannibal and a Flying Dutchman-style pilot (all played with rowdy abandon by Tom Beckett). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Arena Liberates' on the Verge'
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.