East Meets West at the Metropolitan Playhouse in The Sleeping Car 1/23/21
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 04:28 pm EST 01/20/21

by William Dean Howells

Anxiety Reigns in 1882 Play Contrasting Social Norms and American Virtue

January 23, 2021 at 8 pm

Obie Award winner Metropolitan Playhouse presents its next free "screened" readings, live-streamed at no charge, with talkback to follow: THE SLEEPING CAR, William Dean Howells.

1/23/2021 at 8 PM Eastern
Running Time: 60 minutes
Free of charge
Available at: www.metropolitanplayhouse.org
The video will be available through Wednesday, 1/27/21 on the Playhouse webpage, the Metropolitan Playhouse YouTube channel, and the Metropolitan Playhouse Facebook page.

East Coaster Agnes Roberts is on an overnight train, racing to properly introduce her husband to her brother, twelve years after he left to seek his fortune Out West. But she is overcome with fears she cannot contain: Will they know one another? Will the men get along? Will the mysterious stranger from California prove to be her savior or her nemesis? And will she give her fellow passengers a moments' rest?
A silly play of repeatedly mistaken identities and misplaced infants, The Sleeping Car is another Howells probe of social norms in direct conflict with personal distress. Increasingly manic and maniacally funny, it probes the anxieties of a growing country seeking identity as its urban roots entangle its frontier branches.

Discussion including audience participation follow the readings, with special guest Paul Petrie, PhD, Editor of The Howellsian (the newsletter of the William Dean Howells Society) and Professor of English at Southern Connecticut State University.

Directed by Alex Roe, the cast features Dylan Brown, Kelly Cooper, Ken Ferrigni, Andrew Firda, Sidney Fortner, Ben Gougeon, Michael A. Jones, Bex Odorisio, and Peter Tedeschi. Graphic Settings by Medusa Studio.

Photo: Bex Odorisio plays Agnes Roberts

WILLIAM DEAN HOWELLS (1837 - 1920), was a novelist, critic, poet, and playwright, known as The Dean of American Letters. Born in Ohio, his early career included a clerkship in the state House of Representatives before he turned to journalism. After writing the campaign biography LIFE OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1860), he was given a consulship in Venice, and on his return to America, he settled in Cambridge, MA, and began his ascent to literary prominence. Writing for Harpers and the Atlantic, he became editor of the latter in 1871. His dramas tended to the farcical, or self-proclaimedly melodramatic. But he established himself as a literary critic, as well, and was a proponent of "Realism" in literature, championing the works of such up and coming figures as Stephen Crane, Frank Norris, Abraham Cahan, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Paul Laurence Dunbar. In 1904, he was one of the seven first inductees to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, of which he later became president.

Metropolitan presents readings every Saturday at 8 pm, Eastern Time

Saturday, January 30, 2021
The Magical City, by Zoe Akins
A tale of backstage romance, sensitive poetry, hard-nosed finance, and murder. What makes the city go 'round.

Saturday, February 6, 2021
The Outside, by Susan Glaspell
At the lands end, a drowned sailor, a woman adrift, and farewell to the ties that bind us to one another.

February, 2021
The Valiant, byHolworth Hall and Robert Middlemass
The Outside, by Susan Glaspell

The VIRTUAL PLAYHOUSE began on March 28, 2020. Exploring the possibilities of ""remote"" ensemble, Metropolitan has pushed the envelope of Zoom broadcasts, with increasingly sophisticated virtual settings and sound design. Each reading is enhanced by conversation with the artists and a guest scholar for an hour-long live entertainment every Saturday night. Reaching an audience across the country and around the globe, the presentation of the forgotten one-act plays is an ideal way to pursue the theater's mission exploring America's diverse theatrical history.

METROPOLITAN PLAYHOUSE, in its 29th season, explores America’s diverse theatrical heritage through lost plays of the past and new plays of American historical and cultural moment. The theater received a 2011 OBIE Grant from The Village Voice for its ongoing productions that illuminate who we are by revealing where we have come from. Called ""invaluable"" by the Voice, Backstage and Talkin'ᾠBroadway, Metropolitan has earned further accolades from The New York Times and The New Yorker. Other awards include a Victorian Society of New York Outstanding Performing Arts Group, 3 Aggie Awards from Gay City News, 21 nominations for NYIT Awards (3 winners), and 6 AUDELCO Viv Award nominations.

The Playhouse's virtual readings serve to help us compensate performing artists, so particularly hurt during this long ""pause.""
Information about the theater's ARTISTS RELIEF FUND may be found at
Link http://www.metropolitanplayhouse.org

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