Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Miss Julie

Produced by August Strindberg Repertory Theatre
Directed by Robert Greer

In Ed Chishom’s adaption of Miss Julie, director Robert Greer moves the classic from Midsummer in Sweden to Mardi Gras in Louisiana. Miss Julie (a countess or in this case the planation owner’s daughter) and her father's butler John engage in a mutual seduction. However, John's fiancĂ©e Christine (the cook) finds out their plans to flee. 

Transporting the play to a post-civil war South creates a charged environment of class relations and seduction. “The sheer intensity that the actors created in all three relationships, Reginald Wilson and Eboni Flowers as an engaged couple, Ivette Dumeng and Reggie as master and servant as well as lovers, and not least Eboni and Ivette as servant and mistress, made for an intense rehearsal process. All three were always ready to raise the stakes,” says Greer.

“I've always been a huge fan of classics, re-imagined, so I naturally connected with this adaptation of Miss Julie, set in Antebellum Louisiana. It's a very different exploration of the story,” said Eboni Flowers who is nominated for Outstanding Actress in a Featured Role for her portrayal of Christine.

We asked Eboni about preparing for the role:
“After reading the Ed Chisholm's adaptation of the play, I felt I knew who she was: a person, a woman, with wants, needs, dreams & hopes...and obstacles. The play was set just about 20 years after slavery was abolished, so Christine was not only dealing with being Black in that in that place and time, but also, with being a woman, and in that sense, she was like a 3rd class citizen. She witnessed a lot that she didn't approve of, and which she was unable to express with a certain candor, to either Miss Julie or John. She had to use the Bible as her weapon and her solace. And yet, I didn't want to make the easy choice and sanitize her, just because she's a Christian. I wanted her to have something to repent for at night when she got on her knees to pray. I wanted to show her as Strindberg wrote her: a sinner saved by GRACE. A real person, not a walking Bible.

I most enjoyed turning a conceivably ‘small’ role into a MASSIVE person with intricate feelings. Christine is woman who has a huge spiritual foundation, but is also, naturally, flawed. I was very interested in showing both sides of her, and making sure she was just as full and fleshed-out a character as John and Julie were.”

Eboni’s work resonated with theatre goers. “She built Christine with incredible attention to detail and a magnificent arc to the character,” says Greer.

Congratulations to Eboni Flowers and the entire cast and crew of Miss Julie for creating such an engaging and beautiful work.

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