“Major Barbara” – Professional Production at Washington College – This Weekend Only

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Cast and crew of Major Barbara production at Washington College, Oct6-8, 2017. Front row, left to right: Shannon Lawn, Brendon Fox, Jackie Dulaff, (Patricia Delorey on Skype), Conor Maloney, Rachel Treglia, Tim Maloney, Katie Peacock Back row, left to right: Lex Liang, Cole Capobianco, Lexy Ricketts, Dan Perelstein, Adam Ashcraft, Nate Krimmel, Kelly Young, Colin Higgins, Abby Wargo, John Leslie, Iz Clemens, Laura Eckelman, Kate Moncrief, Giselle Brown, Meghan McPherson, Erin Caine, Nic Job, Tedi Rollins, Victoria Gill, Patrick Salerno, Mark Christie

This weekend is your chance to see a professionally produced production of one of the classics of British theater.  Written in 1905 by George Bernard Shaw, “Major Barbara” has been in theaters almost continuously since then.

Now it’s at Washington College. Each semester there is one play directed by a senior member of the theater department.  This fall Assistant Professor of Theatre, Brendon Fox, is directing one of his personal favorites, and the WC Department of Theatre and Dance has brought in a professional production team to help design the set, sound, costumes, etc.   This gives the students a chance to work with theater professionals and learn professional techniques from the pros while making both friends and contacts. They even have a professional fight choreographer to give those fight scenes a realistic touch!

Professor of Drama Emeritus Timothy Maloney, Washington College, takes the role of rich munitions manufacturer, Andrew Undershaft

This is also a rare opportunity to see one of Chestertown’s finest actors.  Professor of Drama Emeritus, Timothy Maloney, has come out of retirement to play Andrew Undershaft,  the captain of industry and father of Major Barbara.  His wife, Lady Britomart Undershaft, is played by Professor of English Kate Moncrief.  Rachel Treglia, WC class of ’19, takes the title role as Major Barbara Undershaft.

Performances will be in Decker Theater in the Gibson Arts building on the Washington College campus on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, Oct.5- 7 at 7:30 pm.  There is also a matinee at 2:00 pm on Sunday, Oct. 8. All performances are free.

Kathryn Moncrief, Professor of English and Department Chair, plays Lady Undershaft – photo by Tamzin B. Smith

“Major Barbara” was first staged at the London Royal Court Theatre in 1905. In the USA, it made its Broadway debut at the Playhouse Theatre in 1915, just as World War I was raging in Europe. A 1941 film adaptation starred Rex Harrison, Wendy Hiller and Robert Morley. This film version of Major Barbara was shot in London during the blitz bombing of London in 1940. With explosions going on around them, the cast and crew often had to drop everything and run for the bomb shelters. But producer-director, Pascal didn’t stop the production and, amazingly, the film was finished on schedule. The play was also released as a 4-LP Caedmon Records set in 1965 with Maggie Smith in the title role and Morley reprising his role as Andrew Undershaft. While the play was originally set in the early years of the 20th century, the Washington College production is set in the present day.

“Major Barbara” tells the story of an idealistic young woman, Barbara Undershaft. A Major in the Salvation Army in London, Barbara has devoted her life to helping the poor.  For years, Barbara and the rest of her family have been estranged from their father, Andrew Undershaft, a rich munitions maker.  Ironically, their father is a major supporter of the Salvation Army and has made substantial donations to the organization.  This offends Major Barbara, who objects to his “tainted” wealth. However, the father claims that he is doing more to help society by creating jobs and a steady income for people than the Salvation Army is by feeding them and praying for them. A social satire like many of Shaw’s works, the play uses humor to explore themes of morality, money, and power, often within the family structure.

Rachel Treglia, class of 2019, as Major Barbara – photo by Tamzin B. Smith

Brandon Fox, Assistant Professor of Theatre at Washington College, director for “Major Barbara”- photo by Heather Perry Weafer

Director Brendon Fox received his B.S., Performance Studies at Northwestern University, 1993 and his M.F.A., in Directing at the University of California, Los Angeles, in 2009.  He teaches classes on acting, directing, and theater history, among other subjects. His research interests are in Restoration comedy and the adaptation of literature to the stage. In July 2014, Fox directed Two Gentlemen of Verona, for the Houston Shakespeare Festival. In 2016, he adapted the popular, best-selling British novel The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde for a staged reading at Washington College.  This was a world stage-premiere for The Eyre Affair. Author Jasper Fforde came to the college for the premiere and worked with the students in several workshop sessions.

All performances are free.  But reservations are strongly encouraged. Reservations may be made online here up to two hours before each performance. If online reservations are already closed, come to the theater at least 30 minutes early for a ticket, if available, or to have your name placed on the waiting list. The doors open one-half hour before curtain time.  Those with reservations will be allowed to enter first. At five minutes before curtain, house managers will begin admitting patrons from the waiting list. For more information, email theatre_tickets@washcoll.edu and a student worker will respond.

The cast features Professor of Drama Emeritus Timothy Maloney playing Andrew Undershaft and Professor of English Kate Moncrief as Lady Britomart Undershaft, as well as:

 Adam Ashcraft ’19 (Peter Shirley)

Giselle Brown, ’20 (Rummy Mitchens)

Iz Clemens, ’19 (Jenny Hill)

Colin Higgins, ’19 (Charles Lomax)

Nate Krimmel, ’18 (Snobby Price)

John Leslie, ’19 (Stephen Undershaft)

Meghan McPherson, ’19 (Billie Walker)

Conor Maloney, ’19 (Adolphus Cusins)

Lexy Ricketts, ’20  (Sarah Undershaft)

Rachel Treglia, ’19 (Major Barbara Undershaft)

Abby Wargo, ’19 (Mrs. Baines) 

Kelly Young, ’20 (Morrison/Bilton) 

The production and design team includes:

Erin Caine (’19): Dramaturg

Patricia Delorey: Dialect Coach, (Professional-Florida) 

 Lex Liang: Costume & Scenic Designer, (Professional-New York)

Laura Eckelman: Lighting Designer

Dan Perelstein: Co-Sound Designer, (Professional-Philadelphia) 

Mark Christie (’18): Co-Sound Designer 

Claudia Adjou-Moumouni (’18): Music Director 

Cliff Williams III: Fight Choreographer, (Professional-DC) 

Cole Capobianco (’16): Associate Costume Designer, (Alumni &Professional-NJ)

Kaitlyn Peacock (’19): Assistant Scenic Designer & Props Master 

Shannon Lawn (’18): Stage Manager

Jackie Dulaff (’20): Assistant Stage Manager

Nic Job (’21): Assistant Stage Manager 

Victoria Gill (’21) – light board operator

Patrick Salerno (’21) – soundboard operator

Gillian Kelahan (’21) – wardrobe crew

Tedi Rollins (’21) – stage/wardrobe crew

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