Daily Egyptian

The Stage Company Presents ‘Enchanted April’

Even in the 1920s, issues of equality and identity raged on.

At 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday, this weekend and next weekend, The Stage Company will present “Enchanted April,” at the Varsity Center for the Arts. This play is written by Matthew Barber, adapted from an Elizabeth von Arnim novel. The Stage Company’s version is directed by Cara Recine.

The play revolves around four women, each from different backgrounds, trying to escape their everyday lives. They leave for San Salvatore, Italy, and hope to find themselves.

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Recine, a retired lifestyle editor for a newspaper, said there is a lot going on in “Enchanted April” when it comes to tone and themes.

One aspect many productions focus on is the humor of the situation, she said. This adaptation will focus on more than just the jokes, though.

“This play could be seen, and it has been produced before, as a silly little romantic comedy,” Recine said.

She said the play has funny and romantic elements to it. Her version is not going to get away from that, but there is so much more going on in this play than humorous entertaining situations.

The play addresses contemporary issues such as women being fulfilled personally, along with the idea of equality.

Rebecca Walker, an assistant professor in the communication studies department, is a cross-appointed faculty member in women, gender and sexuality studies. She agrees with the relevancy of these issues like women’s identity and equal rights.

“I haven’t seen the play, but I understand it’s set around the 1920s and 1930s,” Walker said. “Some of the major issues women still struggle with today involve equal pay, domestic violence/abuse, access to affordable health care and assistance with childcare.”

These topics are thrown into the debates playing out right now, she said. Equal pay, the closing of Planned Parenthood clinics and women’s health centers are just some examples of the evolution of these equality issues.

People will say this is a time of post-feminism, but there is still a need for feminism, Walker said.. Telling women’s stories — especially ones set in another time period — can present what is happening now in a different light, she said.

“Studies have shown that people who read literature, as well as those who perform it, have a higher degree of empathy,” she said. “I think that speaks value of literature and performance.”

Heather Barnett, an acting teacher, plays Lady Caroline in the play, and said an important aspect to remember is how different “Enchanted April” is from the other shows playing in the area.

Barnett said this may be the first time the play has even been performed around here.

“This is one people should see, because it is something new,” she said.

The Stage Company is brave for putting up a newer show, Barnett said. Picking something older, that is done often is the safer choice. 

This is not the first time Barnett has participated in “Enchanted April.” She was also in a version in Los Angeles where she played Lady Caroline. This has caused to understand the character really well and made memorization easier, she said.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for students.

Jacob Pierce can be reached at [email protected] or 618-536-3325.

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