Mint Theater Company presents an exploration of conflicts and competitions that erupt amongst the cloistered teaching staff of an all-girls boarding school in the American premiere of this 77-year-old play. More…
Jean Wade is an enthusiastic young teacher new to an all-girls boarding school, where she soon finds herself popular with the students and at odds with her quarrelsome colleagues--especially the antagonistic Miss Connor. When Miss Connor's life's work (a history of "beautiful acts" through the ages) is found torn to shreds, Jean is the most likely suspect. As evidence mounts against her, Jean must choose whether she will fight, or surrender to the school's toxic environment.
"From the spectacle of the richly appointed furnishings that recall the time period, to the costumes, the music, and the background 'tick-tock' of time passing in the lives of these women, the director Jenn Thompson and the superb cast have created a world we become entangled in and find tragic. All of the elements combine to reveal the potency of Ellis’s themes...This exquisite production of a 'lost' play found by the Mint Theater Company is a must-see." Full Review
"Director Jenn Thompson has crafted a magnificently sensitive and honest production. Her artful and intelligent hand is evident in the exquisite performances, excruciatingly brilliant tension development and the overall creation of unforgettable moments of human frailty. The entire piece galloped at an elegant pace and kept me entranced throughout...I loved every minute of this volatile, heart breaking, exasperating, poignant and lucent production." Full Review
“A sharply observant comedy-drama filled with crackling ironies, a craftily worked-out mystery, and an astringently unsentimental point of view...Ellis was gifted with a remarkably mature vision, allowing her to capture her characters in all their pettiness while deftly, unsentimentally laying bare the social dilemma that entraps them…This production shows the Mint doing what it does best: finding long-lost works that remain remarkably stageworthy today." Full Review
"The Mint Theater Company has become famous for revivals of lost or forgotten masterpieces from the world repertory. Now it has found an unpublished Irish play by the little known author Hazel Ellis that proves to be both fascinating and involving. 'Women Without Men', produced at Dublin’s Gate Theatre in 1938, is receiving its American premiere with a taut production by Jenn Thompson and a remarkable all-female ensemble of 11." Full Review
"A wonderful revival of the long lost play...An excellent production...This production of Hazel Ellis’s 'Women Without Men' clearly deserves a place in that panoply of Mint successes...Suffice it to say that the entire production is first-rate, in no small measure due to its first-rate cast... If there is a special place in Heaven reserved for women who work so well together to provide us all with such a fine theatrical experience, these women can all start adjusting their wings." Full Review
"Overbey and Walton put their hearts into this juicy contretemps. But there’s absolutely no grandstanding in director Jenn Thompson’s beautifully composed ensemble piece. Individually, the performances are distinctive, but the collective work of the company is even more impressive. Ellis’ voice is as tart as her wit, and the players clearly relish the surprisingly contemporary tone of an 80-year-old period play." Full Review
"The story is surprisingly fresh and modern...Swiftly and smartly directed by Jenn Thompson, 'Women Without Men' moves quickly and never lags...Thompson understands Ellis’ script and has crafted a more than worthy production to showcase her writing, as well as the distinct talents of the cast...This play is definitely worth a visit for anyone concerned with gender parity in theater, and specifically with the work of an excellent 'lost' female playwright." Full Review
“This richly characterized and surprising play by a pioneering Irish woman playwright tells us that — women without men are a very sad lot! It’s a fine play though…Thanks to the Mint Theater for producing this fine and little known play, and introducing us to the paradoxes in this work by a successful pioneer woman playwright...It’s not just 'Who knew?' when one sees a superb production of little known works from the past produced by the Mint – it’s ‘Thank Heavens we know now’!” Full Review
"In ‘Women without Men,’ an absorbing 1938 Irish play by a now largely unknown playwright,...the Mint has found a worthy piece...Under Jenn Thompson’s nicely paced direction, a fine ensemble invests this conventional, well-made play—in which humor, suspense, conflict, and sentiment share the stage—with continuing interest. Hail to the Mint..., not least for resuscitating a work with so many juicy women’s roles, especially one without any men at all." Full Review
"An exemplary ensemble plays out Ellis' sharp and clever dialogue without the benefit of a modern eye. The reality that this imperfect situation was often the only alternative to marriage adds a dark texture to highly-polished proceedings. As is often the case with Mint discoveries, 'Women Without Men' offers a fascinating peek into how theatre has always been used to address contemporary issues." Full Review
"The cast, under Jenn Thompson’s direction, is rock solid, and each of the actresses manages to create a distinct personality for her character. You probably would not want to spend much time with these women in real life, but this portrait of their confined and constrained lives is thoroughly engaging...'Women Without Men' is yet another triumph for the Mint, a company that has made it its mission to unearth and breathe new life into little known works from the past." Full Review
"A quality production with a very convincing cast that makes the playwright’s character assortment come vividly alive under the sharp direction by Jenn Thompson...The cast members who portray the collections of staff and students are all terrific, making up an effective ensemble...As the drama gathers force, everyone seems so very real, and so do the situations that the author sets up...'Women Behind Men' is well worth having been discovered and offered here." Full Review
"Playwright Hazel Ellis takes us further into the minds and hearts of the staff, illuminating characters so authentic, played with such authority, one is empathetic rather than sympathetic. A terrific presentation on all fronts...Director Jenn Thompson helps her actresses develop distinguishing personality traits. Everything unfolds in its own, realistic, well-paced time allowing for thinking and reaction...During this production, one is completely unaware of the theater in which we sit." Full Review
"You would think modern audiences would cringe at the portrayal of these pathetic women as frustrated spinsters...But Ellis’ compassionate, detailed writing overcomes the social limits of her era, offering three-dimensional pictures of people living one-dimensional lives. Jenn Thompson directs with a sure hand and the proficient cast is perfect down to the smallest roles of three rebellious students." Full Review
"Despite its declarative title, there is no feminist agenda on display in the Mint Theater’s charming but sharp-clawed production of ‘Women Without Men’…Veteran Off-Broadway director Jenn Thompson makes the most of her fine cast, fast script and intimate setting...The six scenes are expertly paced, whether it’s two characters in heated discussion, or eight in a battle royale. Despite the cattiness, the actors find a way to make their characters human, sometimes achingly so.” Full Review
"Smart, insightful, even sympathetic, Ellis' tight work is beautifully realized in the current revival. That's thanks to a stellar ensemble cast, who clearly delineates the sensibilities and sorrows of each teacher, and the Mint Theater, which is to be applauded for staging neglected gems. It's scored a winner in 'Women Without Men'...[it] bristles with emotional ferocity, as director Jenn Thompson calibrates the tension with precision." Full Review
"It’s difficult to understand how this fine ensemble piece managed to be ignored by American managements until now...Here is a play written in the 1930s that resonates today even though its circumstances are tightly wrapped in the mores of its time...Not since Claire Boothe Luce’s 'The Women' have there been such juicy roles for women of all shapes, sizes, and ages, so three cheers for Mint Theater Company!" Full Review
"Hazel Ellis has masterfully captured human nature and the petty grievances that can so often prevent us from real connection. Thankfully, director Jenn Thompson understands them, too. She has assembled a whip-smart and talented cast that knows how to deliver the goods; goods that might have been delivered years ago, but which the Mint Theater is now reviving with vitality and zest." Full Review
"'Women Without Men' is a smart, involving, skillfully crafted play...Some of the action and character relationships in the play might be viewed as soap opera-ish...But the whole enterprise is elevated by the exceptional quality of Ellis's writing and the superb Mint production. Jenn Thompson's direction of the play could not be improved upon, and across the board, the acting is extraordinarily good." Full Review
"Ellis's writing is subtle and smart, and she knows that humans are not heroes or villains but fallible and needy. As she vividly delineates the way that need shrinks people's souls, she is sometimes, perhaps, overly bleak...The production at The Mint is up to the usual high standards. Jenn Thompson provides smooth direction, and the cast is strong." Full Review
"This 1938 play, which the Mint has resurrected under Jenn Thompson’s direction, is a mostly sturdy and occasionally creaky construction about the perils of a circumscribed life...Ellis, an Irish playwright, is expert in depicting the minutiae of relations among the women, the use of pet names without pet feelings, the flimsy loyalties and jealousies...The acting is generally skillful, though the three younger actresses playing schoolgirls don’t yet seem quite at home in this world." Full Review
"In addition to getting solid performances out of her actors, director Jenn Thompson has created a nice touch by using the students' songs for the between scenes pauses...Despite Ms. Thompson's best effort this dour group portrait does tend to have slow spots that may have some audience members wishing some of the chatter could have been trimmed. But paring these forgotten plays down to a more modern length isn't the Mint way." Full Review
"The Mint, which specializes in rediscovering forgotten plays, does a well-nigh flawless job with this one. The trouble is, the characters are such unpleasant company...Ellis knows how to fashion a well-made play...It’s just such a dreary, oppressive setting...The company plays it brilliantly: Under Jenn Thompson’s sure direction, each actor gets to shine…‘Women Without Men’, while it may not deserve to be forgotten, isn’t one of the Mint’s more thrilling rediscoveries." Full Review
See it if you like thoughtful, masterful dramatic plays full of strong characters
Don't see it if an all female cast does not sound appealing to you, if you like quickly developing stories
See it if A revival of a 77-year-old play written by a woman. I loved it so much, I didn't want the play to end! Such attention to detail!
Don't see it if you'd be bothered by an evening of petty, bickering spinsters at an all-girls school in 1930s Ireland.
See it if Always count on the Mint Theater for strong revivals of old shows. This play shows how far women have come and how much stays the same.
Don't see it if Show about a group of women teaching at a Dublin girls' school in early 20 century Ireland. If it sounds interesting, you will enjoy it.
See it if You'd enjoy a well-written, superbly-acted period piece set in an all girls Irish boarding school. Reminds me of a Mauve Binchy novel.
Don't see it if You'd be disturbed by a group of women, who spend a good deal of time complaining and arguing, but ultimately agree to keep a secret.
See it if you enjoy discovering little known plays that have relevance today, appreciate exquisite staging with distinct characters who charm & anger
Don't see it if you don't like plays that time to build plot and character, don't appreciate all-female casts and creative teams, see no value in old plays
See it if you want to see the wicked yet divine underbelly of an all girls boarding school!
Don't see it if you can't keep up with female banter and all its allusions, repercussions, and innuendos.
See it if You like excellent writing, beautiful performances, the claustrophobia of women with no way out of their situation and early 20th c. stories
Don't see it if You have a problem with stories about women or stories where the implication might be that women need men to survive.
See it if you want to discover a theatrical treasure, and watch a great company of actors at work
Don't see it if If you prefer plot over characterization, though there is plenty of story here
See it if You enjoy a well-written play with all women. The claustrophobic world of Irish women teachers beautifully displayed in this mint Mint show.
Don't see it if Hearing accents all over the place bothers you. Greatest fault was the Irish accents which were very inconsistent. A dialect coach please.
See it if you have an interest in forgotten plays of the early 20th Century. This one is a gem and deserves this excellent, beautifully acted revival.
Don't see it if you only like cutting edge, contemporary dramas, or think old black and white movies are boring and fake.
See it if Love to see women playwrights and an all female superb cast. Like period plays or have liked anything the Mint has produced in the past.
Don't see it if You want to see a man on stage - don't like 'bickering' or like to see what probably goes on in every workplace where there are many women.
See it if you enjoy classic style plays, like those of Lillian Hellman. Also, if you enjoyed the genius cattiness of the original film of "The Women"
Don't see it if you like a happy and neat resolve by the end. Also if you like fast paced action. Or difficult to solve mysteries with a big reveal.
See it if Miss Jean Brodie was your hero, this is how real women lived through the transitional periods between the wars.
Don't see it if an all-female ensemble with one good cardboard character and one bad cardboard character don't appeal to you
See it if you like to see non-flashy little-known slice-of-life plays from the past, plays that are solid but not necessarily earth-shattering.
Don't see it if you demand brilliant acting in every role. Some of the acting is so-so. But overall it's good enough, and the play is well worth a look.
See it if You want to see a play that is exquisitely written and has a handful of fine performances
Don't see it if You need to see something that holds your attention and keeps you in suspense. Or if terrible wigs are distracting
See it if you appreciate craft in every element of a play and production. It's a largely forgotten work of the kind of women who tend to be forgotten.
Don't see it if you want to be bowled over by the newest and the nowest. Its pleasures are delicate and minor but real and sturdy.
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