Friday, September 12, 2014

A Man’s World

A Man’s World
By Rachel Crothers
Directed by Michael Hardart
Produced by Metropolitan Playhouse

Nominations: Sidney Fortner is nominated for Outstanding Costume Design; A Man’s World is nominated for Outstanding Revival of a Production

           Jacob J. Goldberg Photography

About this Production
A woman in 1910 confronts a choice between living her ideals or accepting the norms of the world.

Director Michael Hardart and Costume Designer Sidney Fortner discuss their work in restaging this early Twentieth Century play with modern ramifications.


What attracted you to this project/subject matter?

Michael: Rachel Crothers was one of the most prolific and popular playwrights of the early Twentieth Century. She is largely forgotten today, but as a writer, director, producer and performer, she had something on the Broadway stage nearly continuously from 1906 through the 1930s. We felt it was important to return this important voice to the New York stage.

What was your favorite part of working on this production?

Michael: I loved the creation of the intimate bohemian community that exists in the play.  Alex Roe’s sets, costumes by Sidney Fortner, lights from Chris Weston, the phenomenal ensemble cast, and beautiful music from Regina Gibson and Perri Yannif all contributed to bringing to life these communal apartments where passionate artists fought, loved, created, and shared their lives.

Sidney: As Resident Costumer at Metropolitan Playhouse, I tend to costume all their shows, and they all have unique challenges and satisfactions. This particular show had a broad range of characters, each with their own signature style, which meant working with the actors to find clothes that supported their individual characterizations. This collaboration was especially rewarding.

What was the most challenging part of working on this production?

Sidney: Thinking back, I don't remember anything being especially challenging. The cast was terrific to work with, as was the director and staff. It's always somewhat of a challenge to keep a period production under budget, but this show was one of the least costly we produced in recent years.

Why do this play now?

Michael: Although this play was first produced ten years before the passage of Nineteenth Amendment, it’s examination of the double standard faced by women still, sadly, resonates today. Wage inequality, blame-the-rape-victim, boys will be boys toleration: all these sad realities of today can be heard in this century old play. It’s important to know where we’re coming from in order to get where we need to go.

What was your favorite costume piece to build?

Sidney: One of the characters is an artist, a painter. He always wore his painter's smock - but we didn't have one. So I made a handsome smock from a traditional pattern, then took it out back, aged it, and covered it with paint, one daub at a time. Heartbreaking - but eminently suitable.

What do you want the audience to come away with after watching your production?

Michael: Crothers created a beautiful, intelligent and balanced story filled with complex, genuine characters. As with most playwrights I love, this means that the audience will come away with sometimes markedly different ideas after watching the play.  If that’s the case, then we’ve done our job.

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