4-24-21 PART TWO of BERTHA, THE SEWING MACHINE GIRL on the Metropolitan Virtual Playhouse
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 10:10 am EDT 04/20/21

The Stirring Conclusion

by Charles Foster

Final Chapter of Socially Conscious Melodrama

April 24, 2021 at 8 pm

Obie Award winner Metropolitan Playhouse presents a new free "screened" reading, live-streamed at no charge, with its groundbreaking, signature visual wizardry, and a talkback to follow: BERTHA, THE SEWING MACHINE GIRL - Part Two, by Charles Foster.

4/24/2021 at 8:00 pm (Eastern) through 4/28/2021 at 10:00 pm (Eastern) Running Time: 1 hour Free of charge Available at: www.MetropolitanPlayhouse.org/watchbertha

The video will be available through Wednesday, 4/28/21 on the Playhouse webpage, the Metropolitan Playhouse YouTube channel, and the Metropolitan Playhouse Facebook page. Part One of the play runs from April 17 to April 21, 2021

The surprising Conclusion of the travails of Bertha Bascomb. The model of virtue and integrity, she toils as a sewing machine operator, but framed for theft by an envious co-worker in Part One, she spends five years in prison. On her release, with prospects dim, she is subjected to the advances of a lascivious employer, while still beset by a malicious villain whose motive remain obscure. Her only salvation may be a drunken wastrel whose life she must turn around if she hopes to get out of the sweatshop, stay out of prison, and keep out of wedlock. Leave it to BERTHA, THE SEWING MACHINE GIRL. Springing from the maudlin pages of the "The New York Weekly" onto the stage of the Bowery Theater in 1871, BERTHA, THE SEWING MACHINE GIRL was a social cause brought to life, and she thrived for the last three decades of the 19th century. She found life again in a new version in 1906 and in 1939 through the powerful International Ladies Garment Workers Union on their Labor Stage as "Pins and Needles." The popularity of the play attests to the enduring appeal of the sincere if broad renderings of human conflicts and aspirations, as well as the essential truths at the play's heart: the just are bedeviled by the selfish, the fortunate by the resentful, the powerless by the powerful, and chance plays a far greater role in our day-to-day then we wish. At this moment of serious inquiry into social inequities, this high dudgeon melodrama speaks more clearly and truthfully than it has for years. Metropolitan's reading embraces the promise of the two-dimensional drama with all the glories of two-dimensional "staging" that the company has magically embraced over the course of the pandemic.

Discussion including audience participation follows the reading with Michelle Granshaw, PhD, Associate Professor of Theatre Arts and Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, and Richardo Rocha, Lecturere in Theatre, Film, and Digital Production at University of California, Riverside.

The production features a cast of 14 under the direction of Artistic Director, Alex Roe, and includes Becca Ballenger, Craig Anthony Bannister, John Blaylock, Diego Carvajal, Margaret Catov, Linus Gelber, Tyler Kent, Peter Loureiro, Beethovan Oden, Madelynn Poulson, David Logan Rankin, Jay Romero, Hannah Sharafian, and Tom Staggs. Graphic Art by Medusa Studio.

CHARLES FOSTER (1833 - 1895) was an actor/playwright who thrived in the end of the 19th century. His scores of plays typically debuted at the Bowery Theater, but they were designed to rampage through provincial theaters across the growing nation. Works included NECK AND NECK (1870), with a sensational railroad scene, and FATE (1872), in which one actor played eight roles.

Metropolitan presents readings every Saturday at 8 pm, Eastern Time, and varied programing every other Wednesday evening as part of The Wednesday Alternative

May 1, 2021
Two tales told by Michèle LaRue

The VIRTUAL PLAYHOUSE began on March 28, 2020, and has evolved in the year to be a video/stage hybrid that far exceeds the expectations of online readings. 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' Broadway, 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 www.metropolitanplayhouse.org/covidaid
Link http://www.MetropolitanPlayhouse.org/watchbertha

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