By Donald Margulies
January 17 - February 3, 2013
Pulitzer Prize finalist for Drama
In collaboration with Milwaukee Chamber Theatre
Directed by C. Michael Wright
Featuring FTC advisory company member Sarah Day, and Milwaukee actress Laura Frye
Ensconced in her Greenwich Village apartment, acclaimed writer and professor Ruth Steiner decides to take on Lisa, a 26-year-old graduate student as her assistant. Over the course of six years, Ruth and Lisa’s relationship evolves and a friendship blossoms as the prickly, temperamental author shepherds her star-struck student toward her first success in the publishing world. But when Lisa’s new book exposes intimate details of Ruth’s life, and her fame threatens to overshadow her teacher, the mentor-mentee relationship is turned on its head.
C. Michael Wright, Producing Artistic Director for Milwaukee Chamber Theatre and the director of this production, characterizes the story as an intimate study of a unique relationship. He explains that Ruth and Lisa “start as strangers, they get very, very close and then we see this delicate dance they do as they try to figure out how to grow together. It’s a very complicated relationship that develops. . . Really a juicy story about people and how we dance together, how we give and take, how we keep secrets from each other, how we help and hurt each other because we’re all just such vulnerable beings.”
Commenting on her character (Ruth Steiner), Sarah Day added, “I think it’s a good story about friendship, about mentorship, about coming to terms with how you deal with the people in your life. If we’ve been lucky we’ve had a mentor, somebody who really was asking the very best of us. That challenged us. That loved us in a way that was parental or avuncular and wants really to strengthen us. If we’re lucky, we’ve been either Lisa or Ruth, or maybe both.”
After an initial three-week run in the Broadway Theatre Center as part of Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s season, the entire production of Collected Stories moved to Madison. This is the second half of a two-year collaboration between Forward Theater and Milwaukee Chamber Theatre.
“We’re thrilled to be continuing this partnership,” said Jennifer Uphoff Gray, Artistic Director of Forward Theater. “Our companies have brought two plays to life on two different stages, in two distinct communities – a feat in itself! And it’s such a win-win for all involved. By sharing expenses, designers, sets, and directing duties, we mounted the world premiere production of A Thousand Words in 2012 and this year we realized a brilliant production of Collected Stories, featuring tour-de-force performances by two of southern Wisconsin’s most amazing actresses. Ultimately our audiences may benefit the most.”
Sarah Day (Ruth Steiner) is a founding member of Forward Theater, and serves on its advisory company. She has appeared in Forward's productions of A Thousand Words, All About Eve, and Why Torture is Wrong, and The People Who Love Them, as well as directing a monologue in the festival of new work, The Love That Changed My Life. Sarah has been a member of the acting company at American Players Theatre in Spring Green since 1986. Many thanks to Michael and Jen for this wonderful opportunity.
Laura Frye (Lisa Morrison) recently appeared as Chorus in Henry V and Bianca in Taming of the Shrew in New York. Other East Coast and regional credits include: Ophelia in Hamlet, Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, and Hermione in The Winter’s Tale (Virginia Shakespeare Festival); Anna in Hollow Men (NYC Fringe), Beatrice in Servant of Two Masters (Monomoy Theatre) and Robin in the Off-Off-Broadway production of Saved By The Bell: The Musical. Locally, she has been seen in Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s Crimes of the Heart, First Stage Children’s Theater’s A Thousand Cranes, and Lake Geneva Theatre Company’s Private Lives. She received her MFA from the Professional Actor Training Program at the University of Houston. She sends love to her family and Lenny for their constant support.
The design team includes (sets) Stephen Hudson-Mairet, (lighting) John G. Frautschy, (costumes) Kimberly O’Callaghan, (sound) Chris Guse, (properties) Nikki Kulas.
Sponsored by: Qual Line Fence and Our Lives Magazine