UW News

January 31, 2008

‘She Stoops to Conquer’ next up for drama school

The UW School of Drama presents She Stoops to Conquer, by Oliver Goldsmith Feb. 3-17 in Meany Studio Theatre.

A hilarious comedy of errors, She Stoops to Conquer is a celebrated story of class, courtship and dysfunctional families. First performed in 1773, the marvelous humor and humanity of Goldsmith’s play has delighted audiences for over two centuries.

The plot revolves around the arrival of a young man, Marlow, at the country house of Mr. Hardcastle. It has been arranged that he should court Mr. Hardcastle’s daughter Kate, despite the fact that he is so bashful amongst women of his own class (though he is easy enough amongst serving girls) that he can barely speak to them. When Marlow and his friend Hastings appear, however, they have been told that Hardcastle’s house is only an inn on the way to the estate, and are amazed by the host’s treating them as social equals. Kate, who takes a liking to Marlow, pretends to be a barmaid in order to induce him to pay her romantic attentions: in the words of the title, She Stoops To Conquer.

Wild Black-Eyed Susans

The School of Drama also is opening Wild Black-Eyed Susans, a familial drama of life in West Virginia, by Kara Lee Corthron, which will run Feb. 3-17. The play is directed by Valerie Curtis-Newton, an associate professor of drama, and will be presented at the Ethnic Cultural Theater.  

Though written in the 1770s, the play actually has a lot in common with the earlier Restoration comedies, and part of its humor involves poking fun at the “sentimental” plays which were in vogue at the time. The heroine, Kate Hardcastle, doesn’t mope around feeling every emotion with an extraordinarily refined sensibility; she puts on a disguise and plots to win the man she fancies. Likewise, her friend Constance Neville schemes to get hold of the jewels her guardian keeps so she can elope. Much of the play’s appeal lies in these energetic, clever heroines who must find a way around the strictures society has placed upon them, in order to procure the man they want and the fortune they need.

She Stoops to Conquer is a hilarious and charming take on the age-old custom of how to find a compatible spouse,” said the play’s director, Matthew Arbour. “Complete with meddling parents, lovelorn girlfriends, a mischievous step-brother and a painfully inept suitor, it’s my favorite kind of romantic comedy.”

Arbour is an alumnus of the UW School of Drama whose last production at the University was Moliere’s Imaginary Invalid. He is an active member of the First Look Theatre Company of NYU’s Dramatic Writing Program, an Associate Artist of the Washington Ensemble Theater, a Usual Suspect of New York Theatre Workshop, and a Drama League Directing Fellow..

Tickets are $8 for previews and $15 for all other shows. Student tickets are $10 and seniors pay $12. Reservations and information are available at the Arts Ticket Office, 4001 University Way NE, 206-543-4880 and online at http://depts.washington.edu/uwdrama