“The Women” uses comedy to shed light on feminist topics

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The Department of Theatre and Dance at Rowan University presents “The Women,” a feminist satirical play about society’s expectations of women through an all-female cast. The cast is made up of Rowan Theatre majors and professional actresses from EgoPo Classic Theater, a Philadelphia theater company.

Written by Clare Boothe Luce in the 1930s, the play originally opened on Broadway where it ran for 657 performances. The show tells the story of a group of Manhattan socialites that fall into the social norms of gossip and the expectations of women at the time.

Director Lane Savadove, who is also an associate professor and Head of Acting and Directing at Rowan University, as well as the Artistic Director of EgoPo was drawn to the play by the success of the show back in the 1930s.

“‘The Women’ was a huge success on Broadway back then,” Savadove said. “Plus the show was an experiment to see if people would come out to watch an all-female cast.”

Sam Price, a senior double major in theatre (musical theatre track) and advertising with a concentration in honors studies, plays Miriam Aarons, a character having an affair with the main character’s husband,  prepared for her role by studying the past.

“It was written in a different time period,” Price said. “There is a show in [The Women] called ‘The Vanities;’ it was a Cabrera show, and it was censored because it was taboo.”

The show will play during the weekend at Rowan, then be transported to Philadelphia for its March 3 – 20 run. It will feature the whole cast that was in the Rowan production.

“It’s the same show, it’s a pure co-production because the show is for both Rowan and Philly,” Savadove said. “It will be put in a truck and go to Philly. It’s the same show with the same Rowan students, it gives great attention to Rowan’s [Theatre] program.”

It takes about six to ten weeks to build a show for a university production. But having a mix of professional and student actresses running the show in a whole different place, the team had just had four weeks to be complete the whole production.

Colleen Murphy, a junior theatre major in the musical theatre, acting and directing track, was enthusiastic about working with professionals from EgoPo and working in Philadelphia.

“I am excited to perform on the Philly stage because I think it is important for students to get professional experience prior to graduation, whether they are a theatre major or any other major,” Murphy said. “We are all grateful for the opportunity and ready to rise to the occasion.”

Savadove wants viewers to have a complete theatrical experience from “The Women,” while also having a comfortable conversation about relationships and gender.

“I want people to have a theatrical experience, to have a surprising experience; I want theater to wake you up,” Savadove said. “Visually and theatrically exciting, I want people to talk about gender relationships in a way that speaks to them.”

“The Women” premieres at Tohill Theatre on February, 25, 26, and 27 at 8 p.m. and at 3 p.m. on Feb. 27 and 28. There will also be a talk back held on opening night. The show is free for Rowan students with a valid ID, with general tickets priced at $15.

– Featured image:  -“The Women”  features Geneviève Perrier as Edith, Melanie Julian as Mary, Mary Lee Bednarek at Sylvia, and Karina Balfour at Nancy. “The Women” premieres at Tohill Theatre on Feb. 25 at 8 p.m. – Photo Courtesy of EgoPo Classical Theatre

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