Unlike most Ten Thousand Things shows, in which a small cast plays multiple roles in a large character play like Shakespeare, Intimate Apparel has just six characters, played by six actors. While it's often fun to watch actors transform themselves into different characters, it's also nice for them and us to be able to really get to know these few people. In 1905 Lower East Side (aside: next time you're in NYC visit the Tenement Museum to learn about the history of the Lower East Side which is a history of immigrants, a history of America), Esther Mills lives a simple life in a boarding house, sewing "intimate apparel" for rich ladies. She has a good, if not very exciting, life, surrounded by friends Mrs. Dickson, owner of the boarding house, a prostitute named Mayme, and Mr. Marks, the Jewish man who sells her fabric. But she longs for more, having just turned the ripe old age of 35 and never married. Enter George Armstrong, a Panamanian friend of the deacon's son who begins writing to her. Esther is wooed by his fancy words and agrees to marry him. But when he arrives in NYC things don't work out as expected (they rarely do). This play may not have the traditional "happy ending," but this was a journey Esther needed to go through, and she came through the experience stronger than she was before.
|Aimee K. Bryant as Esther (photo by Paula Keller)|
|George Keller and Aimee K. Bryant (photo by Paula Keller)|
The lovely and moving Intimate Apparel moves back to the intimate space at Open Book for the next two weekends, with a few free shows still available.