DON’T MISS: The Real Housewives circa 1930

By on March 3, 2018

Riot Act’s new production is a satirical take on gender roles new and old

(Wikimedia Commons/Sam Hood)

Jackson Hole, WY – The Women opens with a group of wealthy ladies playing bridge. Replace the bridge with book club, or some other “excuse for women to get together to drink and talk,” and it could be a show set in contemporary times, said Deborah Supowit, director of Riot Act Inc.’s latest production.

“It is a little Real Housewives of the 1930s,” Supowit said.

The Women was written by Clare Boothe Luce in the 1930s as a satirical look at how women were portrayed in society. Each main character embodies a stereotype, there’s the femme fatale, the floozy husband stealer, the Earth mother who is always pregnant, the unmarried cynic, the innocent newlywed and the young girl who is just starting to learn what life will be like as a woman.

The show offers a chance to reflect on how women’s roles in society and how they are viewed have changed—and in some cases remained the same, Supowit said.

Angel Dillon plays the main character, Mary Haines, an every-woman who just wants to be happy. She arrives to play bridge. Unbeknownst to her, her husband is having an affair. The women who know don’t want to tell her, but want her to find out. They send her to a gossiping manicurist who spills the news, not realizing the client she’s regaling with the tale is the wife of the philandering man in her story.

She’s left unsure what to do and what she wants.

“I don’t want to give away the ending, but the good people of the world get a happy ending and the bad people get their comeuppance,” Supowit said.

The show was a hit, but also groundbreaking when it was first produced in the 1930s, Supowit said. It was unheard of for a play to feature only women in the cast.

“Although it talks about men — that’s all it talks about it is men,” Supowit said. “That’s part of the irony, I don’t know any women today who spend all their time talking about men. The Real Housewives of Jackson Hole would be us sitting around talking about books, movies and everything but our men.”

Still, the show will resonate with viewers. It’s a chance to reflect on how things used to be, but there are aspects that will also speak to women’s experiences today, she said. It seemed fitting to produce the show this year, as women have protested and advocated for women’s rights. It provides a relevant discussion point about women’s roles in the past and how they are viewed today.

It also was a perfect show to do in honor of the theater company’s 15th anniversary season. Riot Act Inc. was founded by all women.

While the show focuses on the main characters, the supporting cast, which portrays working class women struggling to survive the depression by waiting on and serving the rich, provides interesting insight to the times. Riot Act will host talk-back sessions after the Saturday night performances where the audience can discuss the show with the cast.

The Riot Act production uses 21 women, a mix of Jackson theater veterans and new-comers, who play 35 parts. There are also about 70 different costumes, designed by Macey Mott, Supowit said.

“At the very least people should come to see the costumes,” she said.

Tickets are $20 adults and $15 students and seniors. They can be purchased online at www.riotactinc.org or at the door. The show runs Thursday through Saturday and March 8-10 at Walk Festival Hall.

 


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