Four female icons of 19th century literature wage a raucous war on the traditions of their time in Jaclyn Backhaus’ inventive comedy You on the Moors Now, being performed April 9-17 at UofSC’s Drayton Hall Theatre.
Show times are 8 p.m. April 9-10 and April 14-16, with additional 3 p.m. matinee performances on April 11 and 17. Tickets will be available only for the purchase of a single seat or a pair of seats, with single seats priced at $15 for students, $20 for UofSC Faculty/Staff, Military and Seniors and $22 for the general public, and ticket pairs priced $30-$44. Tickets may only be purchased online and will not be sold on location. Drayton Hall Theatre is located at 1214 College St., across from the historic UofSC Horseshoe.
COVID-19 mitigation efforts will continue to be implemented for each performance. In addition to socially distanced seating, facial coverings will be required of all audience members, performers and theatre staff. To help ensure distancing, patrons will be seated upon entering the building and asked to leave immediately after the performance. Patrons are asked to monitor their own health and not attend if they have been previously diagnosed with COVID-19 within 14 days, have been in contact with anyone diagnosed with the virus or are exhibiting any symptoms of illness. The theatre will be cleaned before each performance.
Freeing four iconic literary heroines from the social confines of their 19th-century novels, Jaclyn Backhaus’ rip-roaring tale brings a fiercely modern sensibility to antiquated ideas of love and romance. Brazenly defying conventions of their times, Jane (Jane Eyre), Jo (Little Women), Elizabeth (Pride and Prejudice) and Cathy (Wuthering Heights) band together to reject their famous suitors’ marriage proposals, leading to a literal war between women and men. “...In providing respectfully irreverent new angles on these not-so-little women -- complete with an unexpected, gleefully anachronistic but thoroughly satisfying epilogue -- Moors scores.” -- Time Out Chicago
Atlanta-based guest artist Ibi Owolabi is directing the play, which she calls a “literary playground” where gender inequalities of the past and present are exposed in fun and surprising ways.
“It starts with a bare-bones, ‘Cliff’s Notes’ version of each of the four relationships,” says Owolabi, “then transforms to show what was expected of these women in each situation. That’s where I think they find their commonality. No matter the time period, they all experienced gender disparities.”
“I think Jaclyn had fun writing something for people who enjoy literature but don’t take it too seriously. Even with the comedy [of the show], there’s so much truth in how she attacks the politics and packages her own feminism. She makes it fun for us to digest it.”
Part of the fun is that the characters are often presented as caricatures of their famous literary personalities. The fact that the actors will be wearing masks throughout the show, Owolabi says, is actually helping the actors achieve the exaggerated style the show’s comedy requires.
“It’s a great experience for student actors to have that goes back to where theatre started, with wearing masks and having to use your whole body to tell the story,” she says. “It’s so great that they get to play these really big, over-the-top characters that are super fun and make it easier for the audience to follow the story.”
Performing in the show are undergraduate students Jesse Breazeale, Sydni Brown, Zoe Chan, Cameron Eubanks, Emma James, Caroline McGee, Felisha Miller, Isabella Stenz, Susan Swavely, Michael Taylor, Michael Williamson and Jacob Wilson, along with guest actors John Romanski and Marshall Spann, both alums of the theatre program. The show design is being created by graduate students Nate Terracio and Mona Damian Ulmu (scenic), Campbell Childers (costume) and Lawrence Ware (lighting), and guest artist Danielle Wilson (sound).
“Something I know all of us have missed in this pandemic is human connection,” says Owolabi. “Being able to be in a room full of people safely and experience a piece of art that makes you laugh, that is here to entertain, is something we all need to experience.”
“I’m so happy that people will get a chance to be welcomed back to the theatre in a really happy way.”
For more information on You on the Moors Now or the theatre program at the University of South Carolina, contact Kevin Bush by phone at 803-777-9353 or via email at email@example.com.