Overtones by Alice Gerstenberg
This is a lively one-act play which will be set in a well-to-do drawing room C1900, two women who grew up together in a country town, meet again.
There are four female parts:
Harriet; a cultured and sophistocated society woman – she “married well” to a rich and successful man, she is admired by all, has everything social position, material posessions and is very happy … or is she?
Margaret; just back from bohemian, artistic Paris, she married a poor struggling artist for love and adores her husband, now he is successful and aclaimed she is happy and fulfilled in the enduring love they share … or is she?
Hetty; Harriet’s inner self, passionate and anguished, both desperate about opportunities lost – for she loved the artist before he married Margaret – and anxious tnat her old friend see how wealthy she is and how well she is doing
Maggie; Margaret’s inner self, aching and lost, she shows Margaret’s true motives; she needs to get Harriet to commision a picture or all is lost. She is a wraith, her husband is not as successful as she portrays and they are starving for his art!
It is play that is funny and tragic, light and dark, static and frenetic. The intention is to set it in Edwardian London and dress the players accordingly.
This play will be performed as part of the Opening Night theatre club evening on Saturday 8th September. Readings are open to members and non-members and will be at The Settlement on two dates: Monday 9th July 8 p.m. and Wednesday 11th July 8 p.m. I am not pre-judging what sort of actor I want to cast, Margaret and Harriet should be roughly the same age, but their inner selves can be older or younger. These two should be able to speak “posh”, but I am proposing to use English accents rather than the original American.
If you are interested in a part but can’t make either or both of the readings then please let me know.
About the author: Born into wealthy society in in 1885, Alice Gerstenberg was a pioneer in the world of Little Theatre, She was one of the original members of the Chicago Little Theatre and was active in the Alice Gerstenberg Experimental Theatre Workshop in the 1950’s . Gerstenberg wrote mostly rather experimental one-act plays, modest in scope, many of which featured women in the lead roles. This is said to be her most enduring play and it is an early (1915) psychological one-act drama, which was said to have foreshadowed Eugene O’Neill’s dual personality device. I would argue that she was a proto-feminist, exploring how women’s accepted roles in society chaffed their “inner selves”.