The Peccadillo Theater Company
THE LADIES OF THE CORRIDOR
By DOROTHY PARKER and ARNAUD D’USSEAU
East 13th Street Theatre, 136 E. 13 St., NYC, September 7 – October 23, 2005
Directed by DAN WACKERMAN
Scenic Design CHRIS JONES
Lighting Design TYLER MICOLEAU
Costume Design AMY C. BRADSHAW
Assistant Director/Production Stage Manager MICHAEL GIANAKOS
Press Representative BRETT SINGER & ASSOCIATES
Mrs. Gordon/Mary Linscott – Libby George
Mr. Humphries/Tom Linscott – Hal Blankenship
Mrs. Lauterbach – Carolyn Seiff
Charles Nichols – Ron Bagden
Grace Nichols – Peggy Cowles
Harry – Garth T. Mark
Lulu Ames – Susan Jeffries
Mildred Tynan – Domenica Cameron-Scorcese
Robert Ames – Patrick Boyd
Betsey – Dawn Evans
Connie Mercer – Jo Ann Cunningham
Irma – Susan Varnon
Paul Osgood – Kelly Aucoin
Casey – Andy Phelan
Sassy - Katie
There was much political and social analysis accorded the initial 1953 Broadway run of THE LADIES OF THE CORRIDOR. In retrospect, the reviewers had ample current events in motion to fuel their fires. In an era marked by McCarthy and the "threat" of Marxism, but also one in which it was the norm for women to be supported by their husbands in life and after death, how stirring a play like LADIES had the potential to be. More than fifty years later, it is good to report that this is a play that can succeed based on strong performances and completely aside from modern reality.
LADIES feels like the modern version of the history play, providing as it does such a specifically articulated vision of a certain segment of New York society during a particular era. The setting, the Hotel Marlowe, acts as both a microcosm of the outside world and as a snapshot capturing the cross section of women who would find themselves single and living in a hotel. The characters all interact to some extent, but this is a work more about coexistence than about the forging of a strong and unified community.
The title, THE LADIES OF THE CORRIDOR refers to the physical location in the hotel. The main characters all live in the same wing. They include Mrs. Gordon, a woman of means who has a penchant for kleptomania, the wheelchair bound Grace Nichols, who will resort to anything to keep her son at her side, the poor, sad and alcoholic Mildred Tynan, who has fled an abusive marriage, the "working girl" Connie Mercer, and the newcomer, recently widowed Lulu Ames. Lulu’s story takes center stage most of the time, with the other ladies’ lives performing satellite duty, as if the audience were eavesdropping on the neighbors’ dirty secrets.
In the course of things, Lulu begins and ends an affair with a younger man. Actress Susan Jeffries plays the emotional unraveling just right. Frantic, paranoid and needy, we feel her coming apart. Down the hall, Mildred spirals out of control and into tragedy. Grace, seemingly the most fragile character, exercises her authority with the sort of softly spoken malice one must experience to believe.
Dressed in nice clothes (Amy C. Bradshaw), housed in a believable hotel setting (Chris Jones), and directed by a steady hand (Dan Wackerman), these LADIES OF THE CORRIDOR make a notable return to the New York stage. Though there are some witty and poignant one-liners in this script, the play is by no means a comedy. There are some moments of emotional tragedy. Mostly, it conveys a sense of stylized reality. By the end, things are more or less where they began, but a year or so has passed.
- Kessa De Santis -