Directed by Ian Harkins
Produced by Hudson Warehouse
Nominated for: Outstanding Costume Design, Emily Rose Parman; and Outstanding Director, Ian Harkins
About the Production
By presenting classic theatrical works, Hudson Warehouse’s goal is to “educate the novice and enthrall the well-versed.” In Oliver Goldsmith’s comedy of manners, She Stoops to Conquer the clever main character takes on the persona of a working-class maid in order to win over her anxious, but dashing suitor. This entertaining production delighted audiences
Assistant Artistic Director Susane Lee and nominees Emily Rose Parman and Ian Harkins talk about the joys and challenges of producing a period piece in an outdoor park to modern audiences.
What attracted you to this production?
Ian: The play is landmark in the history of British comedy and British theatre, yet is not as renowned as it deserves to be. As a student of history and comedic theatre, I loved the challenge of mounting a production that could showcase the piece, the writing, and the history while giving audience's a laugh or two along the way.
Susane: As a classical company, we don't limit ourselves to Shakespeare only. We have produced Chekhov, Euripides, Aphra Behn, Rostand, and Wilde. She Stoops to Conquer had been on our radar for many years. We all loved this play and we felt the time was right to take on an 18th English comedy.
What did you want audiences to come away with after watching She Stoops to Conquer?
Susane: Delight! Appreciation! We want our audience to see how amazing and high end our productions are, with strong actors, outstanding costumes, delivered in a beautiful outdoor setting. We don't charge for our productions. We want our audience to realize how much our theater company is a part of the community and how much art we contribute to the Upper West Side.
What was your favorite part of this production?
Emily: At Hudson Warehouse it's really rare that we present a show in its original intended period. This was a perfect place to break that rule because the 18th century fashions looked so lovely against the marble monument and natural setting.
Susane: The play still holds up and is as funny as ever. We were lucky to get some of our company members in the show, as well as some actors who have worked with us for many years and had strong comedy flair. The chemistry between the actors was very strong and the costumes by Emily Parman added real visual candy and delight. It was a very beautiful show and quick witted show. It was a real audience pleaser!
Ian: What a tremendous cast and crew team I had around me. A director can only be as good the team surrounding him. And it is due to them and their hard work that this play had so much success.
What was the most challenging part of this production?
Susane: We brought an English Country parlour onto the patio, outside, in a public park, every performance. This included love seats, tables, chairs, arm chairs, and even a fireplace.
Ian: Bringing to life a nearly 250-year-old play for audiences who might not be familiar with the history, let alone the text. To make the show accessible, we had to be meticulously detailed and justified in our choices, always in support of the story.
Emily: The heat! Outdoor theatre of course presents a myriad of challenges, but putting actors in full period dress in 90 degree heat is never fun for anyone. It was very important to me that we make the actors as comfortable as possible, even with the additions of corseting and 3 piece velvet suits.
What was the oddest part of working on this production?
Ian: Performing the show outdoors in Riverside Park's Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument. After rehearsing indoors, we had a week to transfer everything to the outdoors space, reblock, mic everyone, and figure out how transport all of our 18th-century set pieces and props to and from the space each rehearsal and performance. Also, acquiring or creating enough pieces that conjure a late 18th-century English salon on a large monument plaza was quite the challenge.
Susane: We have never before produced a play costumed and set in the period in which it was written. This meant period clothes, white powered wigs, period instruments, all the way down to the Gloucestershire accents.
What was it like working with Hudson Warehouse?
Emily: Hudson Warehouse makes every effort to provide a theatrical home for its artists. It is one of the most caring and supportive environments I have ever had the privilege of working in.
Ian: To participate in such a cohesive team of people is such a privilege, and I wish for anyone in a creative field that they find the same experience and joy in teaming up with such industrious, supportive and imaginative people whom they can hold on to and continue to work with in the future.
What was it like working with Emily and Ian?
Susane: Emily Parman is the most talented costume designer in the Off-Off-Broadway community. After years and years of spectacular work, she deserves this nomination. Her costumes for our productions are breathtaking in their scope, uniqueness, and helps tell the story.
Ian Harkins did an amazing job and assembled a talented staff around him, from his dialect coach, movement consultant, as well as a stellar fight director, Jared Kirby, who helped make this a strong production.
We are thrilled for both of these incredible artists.
You can follow these artists on Twitter
Hudson Warehouse - @hudsonwarehouse
Emily - @erosepardesign
Ian - @IanSnarkins