Women’s theater history exposed in ‘Playhouse Creatures’

By Hannah Rodrigues
Flapjack Chronicle

Extravagant gowns and sharp sarcasm from the actresses who wear them is exactly what students say draws them to the risque production, Playhouse Creatures.

Playhouse Creatures is the iconic play that has students at HSU amazed. Women characters in Shakespeare and other stage dramas had to be played by males in the 17th century. Most of the characters in this play are actual depictions of women who became the first actresses.

New realism was brought to the stage when women were not always respected or accepted by their audiences. Their struggles included that of survival and integrity. This play works to abolish perceptions about a boring history and focuses on shaping women’s roles in that time period.

The cast includes Queena Delany, Anna Duchi, Michelle Purnell, Ambar Cuevas, Vanessa Fragoso, Adrienne Ralsten, Giovanni Alva and Kyle Rispoli.

Playhouse creatures has students shocked by its racy language and slight nudity.

Andrea Rodriguez, a 19-year-old English major was impressed by this production.

“This is a play that you will not want to miss,” Rodriguez said. “All the actresses are so beautifully dressed and elegant, it really is the kind of play that I haven’t seen done at HSU before.”

Derek Lane is the creator of the all wooden 17th century-esque set. The set takes place in what would be the backstage of a theatre in the 17th century. The actresses spend most of their time on the set but also incorporates some audience interaction as well as a few comedic lines throughout the play.

“It was a really fun set to build and I loved having my Theatre Arts 106 students help me,” Lane said. “The play came together just as we had all expected.”

Theatre Arts 106 is a GE course offered for students to learn more about the theatre and also have opportunities to work backstage on some of the plays.

Jack Holmes, a philosophy major, left the theatre in good spirits.

“Overall it was just a really cool experience, I had never seen nudity in a play before so it made the production feel much more real,” Holmes said. “It was a funny play but I also liked that it touched on some really serious issues of that particular time period.”

Although Playhouse Creatures has closed its final curtain, it continues to be talked about by those at HSU as it is a reproduction of the first play from the 17th century that allowed women to act in the theatre.

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