Flagler College Theatre Arts to Perform “Fefu and Her Friends”
Oct 14, 2021
"My husband married me as a constant reminder of how loathsome women are" is the opening line of Fefu and Her Friend, by Cuban American playwright Maria Irene Fornes in the upcoming Flagler College Theatre Arts production. Winner of nine Obie Awards, Fornes became an inspiration for notable playwrights like Paula Vogel, Tony Kushner, Lanford Wilson, and Edward Albee.
Set in the spring of 1935, the play centers on eight women, most of whom were classmates in college, coming together to rehearse for a presentation on education for a charitable event. Sharing their fears and struggles, these educated women explore their roles in a world where men have achieved a brotherhood while women's voices are often silenced. When asked whether it was a "feminist play," Fornes said that it is because it is about women, as she sees them. However, she also says, "The play is not fighting anything, not negating anything. My intention has not been to confront anything. I felt as I wrote the play that I was surrounded by friends. I felt very happy to have such good and interesting friends."
Fefu and Her Friends, originally produced in 1978, was groundbreaking due to its avant-garde nature and being one of the first immersive theatre experiences for an audience. The original production called for breaking the audience into four sections in Act 2, escorting them through "rooms" in the New England country estate home watching scenes, creating a very intimate experience for both audience and actors. The Flagler College production, directed by Andrea McCook, Associate Professor of Theatre Arts, includes a combination of freshmen, sophomores, and juniors in the cast, with Junior Theatre Arts major Lucy Hubbard Wright serving as assistant director and stage manager.
When asked about selecting the play, McCook says, "I had the honor of playing the role of Paula in Fefu and Her Friends, in the Graduate Acting MFA program at NYU, Tisch School of the Arts. The production, directed by Irene Lewis, Artistic Director of Baltimore's Center Stage, leaves me with fond memories of the bond forged between us in the cast and feel the message of community among women still resonates for us today in the divided society in which we." Unable to achieve the five-set, immersive production due to the constraints of Lewis Auditorium, the Flagler College production will use a 1996 single-set version of the play. While the audience's proximity to actors is eliminated, the script still retains the intimate and close relationships between the eight female characters.
Fefu and Her Friends performs October 22 at 7:30 PM; October 23 at 2 PM and 7:30 PM; October 24 at 2 PM in Lewis Auditorium, located at 14 Granada Street in downtown St. Augustine. A Q & A following the Friday performance will include a talkback session with the director, actor, and faculty member Dr. Judith Burdan.
Tickets are $15 for General Admission. Admission is free for Flagler College faculty, staff, and students, and tickets for a discounted price of $5 for non-Flagler students are available at the door. The box office will be open Monday through Friday 3-5 PM and 1 hour before curtain. Tickets can also be purchased online at flagler.universitytickets.com.
For more information, please call 904-826-8600.