Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-03-16
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Same-Sex Romance in a New Nation, New Adaptation of Patience and Sarah
by Mary Shen Barnidge
2018-10-03

This article shared 1239 times since Wed Oct 3, 2018
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


The legacy of self-taught artist Mary Ann Willson is founded on a portfolio of watercolors executed in tints fashioned from brick dust, berry juices and vegetable dyes—materials plentiful in the rural regions of Greene County, New York, during the early 19th century—as well as two letters from a patron asking after her and a "Miss Brundage," with whom she shared a log cabin on a farm, and a lifetime companionship. Romantic legends are built on just such archeological enigmas. In 1969, author Alma Routsong, writing under the pseudonym Isabel Miller, published a novel recounting the story of two very dissimilar women, now named Patience White and Sarah Dowling, whose passion for one another led them to seek their fortunes together on the frontier circa 1820, in defiance of then-prevalent social and familial norms. The obstacles they overcome in their pursuit of happiness beckoned to lyricist Wende Persons and composer Paula M. Kimper in 1998. The results were the opera now celebrating its 20th anniversary production under the auspices of Third Eye Theatre Ensemble

What about this obscure footnote in the cultural history of our country sparked the imaginations of not one, but three, artists living over two hundred years after the events it documents? Third Eye Artistic Director Rena Ahmed, Director Jennifer Cox and Conductor Alexandra Enyart weigh in on the possibilities.

Windy City Times: What made Third Eye decide that now was the right time to acquaint us with this story?

Jennifer Cox: People sometimes seem to think that same-sex love is a recent invention—like we were new-sprung from Oscar Wilde's thigh. To be reminded that human love, in ALL its manifestations, has been around ever since there were humans gives us back our historical roots.

WCT: Miller recounted the saga of the fictionalized Willson and Brundage as a novel, but could as easily have adapted it as a play or a film. How does opera's "sung-through" vocabulary enhance the story?

Alexandra Enyart: Music not only gives us insight into characters' hearts and minds, but also suggests an environment. During Sarah's travels, for example, the music paints us a picture of the open road. It also sets up themes, so that the melody we associate with Patience and Sarah's first kiss later returns as a sweet reminder—or as a bitter memory.

WCT: Cohabiting spinsters were not uncommon before the term "lesbian" ( which never appears in the libretto ) mandated an erotic dimension to same-sex romantic relationships. How sexual will your heroines be?

AE: We only get brief glimpses of their sex lives onstage, but the distinction between closeness through proximity—as when Sarah shares a bed with her sister at home—and intimacy springing from the desire for a deep and meaningful romantic connection, is made very clear by the music in our show.

WCT: When Patience and Sarah first opened at Lincoln Center, its performance time was almost three hours. Third Eye's production at Theater Wit has a much smaller budget and stage. What changes did this necessitate?

Rena Ahmed: We are premiering a newly revised two-hour version of the opera, written by Paula [Kimper] specifically for small companies like ours. We've been working at Prop Thtr for the last three years, so Theater Wit is actually a pretty BIG theater for us!

JC: Even with only a seven-piece orchestra, it was difficult locating it where it wouldn't take up too much playing space, but would still allow Alex to communicate with the singers AND musicians. The small studio works to an advantage, though, in that it echoes the emotional restrictions that Patience and Sarah suffer while awaiting the freedom they long for.

WCT: What should your audience expect from their experience?

JC: At the Lyric, audiences just observe [the music], but storefront opera is a much more visceral experience. You can't help but be immersed in it.

RA: There are Patiences and Sarahs all over the world—people who have to fight every day just to be with the person they love. The time has never been more right to tell women's stories in all their complexity and richness.

* * *

Patience and Sarah opens Oct. 5 at Theater Wit and runs through Oct. 21. Tickets/info: Theaterwit.org 773-975-8150


This article shared 1239 times since Wed Oct 3, 2018
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

About Face to run immersive comedy about climate-change activism
2022-05-27
About Face Theatre brings its 27th season to a close with a world premiere comedy created by and starring the About Face Youth Theatre ensemble. Gayme Changers will run June 18-24 at The Den Theater, 1331 ...


Gay News

THEATER Steppenwolf's gay-themed 'Choir Boy' to run June 16-July 24
2022-05-26
Steppenwolf Theatre Company will run the Tony-nominated play Choir Boy. by Oscar-winning Steppenwolf ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight), on June 16-July 24. Directed by Kent Gash, the production features ...


Gay News

Jodie Foster to star in fourth season of 'True Detective'
2022-05-26
The Silence of the Lambs star Jodie Foster is to lead the fourth iteration of HBO's True Detective franchise, True Detective: Night Country, Deadline reported. Foster, who will also executive-produce, will play Detective Liz Danvers in ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Seagull
2022-05-25
Title: Seagull. Playwright: Anton Chekhov At: Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St.; Steppenwolf.org Tickets: $20-$88. Runs through: June 12 The final test of success for any undertaking lies in how well it accomplishes its intended purpose. ...


Gay News

THEATER Lesbian-cruise drama 'Seven Days at Sea' running thru June 5
2022-05-25
Light and Sound Productions is running the world premiere of Seven Days at Sea, written by Martha Hansen and directed by Margaret Knapp, through Sunday, June 5, at The Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway. The performance ...


Gay News

Gayla Turner talks new book uncovering her grandmother's secret queer identity
2022-05-23
In Gayla Turner's debut book, Don't You Dare: Uncovering Lost Love (BookBaby, May 24), she reveals her Grandmother Ruby's (1896-1977) century-old secret queer identity that she hid from the wider world. This revelation became c ...


Gay News

THEATER Musical 'Get Out Alive' running July 8-Aug. 7
2022-05-23
Haven will continue its 2021-22 season with Nikki Lynette's multidisciplinary afrogoth musical Get Out Alive, co-directed by Roger Ellis and Lucky Stiff, which features the writer and her personal journey with mental health. The production will ...


Gay News

Billy Masters: Theater
2022-05-23
"Well, thanks Colin. That's the end of my career. Because you know, that role really should have been mine."—Rupert Everett tells Piers Morgan his reaction when he heard Colin Firth would play the lead in Tom ...


Gay News

PREVIEW Here comes the sun: Summer plays are blooming indoors and outside
2022-05-22
There were times when we thought that the sunshine would never return, but despite climate change and contagion, there's no stopping summer—and while we usually associate expanded daylight hours with outdoor activities, a number of theaters ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Broadway, JoJo Siwa, WEHO Pride, 'Jurassic World,' Madonna
2022-05-22
The Broadway League announced that all 41 Broadway theaters in New York City have extended the current mask requirement for audiences through at least June 30, Playbill noted. Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League, ...


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Chinese Lady
2022-05-22
It began in 1834 as an advertising gimmick: In order to promote sales of their Far East Oriental imported goods, the Carnes Brothers procured their company a real-life spokesperson. This was the teenage Afong Moy, known ...


Gay News

THEATER Season of Concern to present 'Jerry's Girls' on June 27
2022-05-21
"Jerry's Girls: A Benefit for Season of Concern" will take place Monday, June 27, at 7:30 p.m. at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. Season of Concern Chicago is dedicated to providing financial assistance to ...


Gay News

TELEVISION Kate McKinnon, Pete Davidson and others to exit 'SNL'
2022-05-20
In a major shake-up on the long-running hit Saturday Night Live (or SNL), several of the main stars are leaving—including out cast member Kate McKinnon, Deadline reported. McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Kyle Mooney and Pete Davidson (who's ...


Gay News

For International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphobia HRC highlights grants
2022-05-17
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, is commemorating International Day Against ...


Gay News

Quiz program 'Wait, Wait' to start taping June 16 at the Studebaker
2022-05-16
Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, NPR's weekly hour-long quiz program, will resume live audience recordings Thursday, June 16, in a new Chicago home: the historic Studebaker Theater at the Fine Arts Building, 401 S. Michigan Ave. ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.