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A Warning for Fair Women
a Drama
by Anonymous (Thomas Heywood?)

COMPANY : Resurgens Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : The New American Shakespeare Tavern [WEBSITE]
ID# 5398

SHOWING : November 19, 2018 - November 21, 2018



Resurgens closes our Season of Domestic Tragedies with a play based on the brutal murder of a prominent London merchant, George Sanders, in 1573. First performed by Shakespeare’s company in the late sixteenth century, "A Warning for Fair Women" mixes allegory, masque, bloodlust, and courtroom drama in a show unlike anything Atlanta audiences have experienced at the Shakespeare Tavern — in fact, it’s unlike anything anyone has experienced anywhere, as there’s no record of any public performance since 1599. Directed by Dr. Brent Griffin, our “original practices” production will work in close collaboration with Dr. Ann Christensen, the editor of a new critical edition of the text, to create the first professional staging of this lost tragedy in modern history.

Director Brent Griffin
Comedy/Anne Drurie Ashley Anderson
George Sanders Bryan Davis
Barnes Trey Harrison
Old John Richard Herren
Anne Sanders Sims Lamason
Beane Bob Lanoue
George Browne Tamil Periasamy
Fury/Lord Lauren Tatum
Joan Catherine Thomas
History/Roger/Keeper Matthew Trautwein
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


A Wanning and a Waning
by playgoer
Friday, November 23, 2018
"A Warning for Fair Women" starts out promisingly. Tragedy (Catie Osborn), History (Matthew Trautwein), and Comedy (Ash Anderson) enter, with Tragedy banishing the other two from the stage, for the play about to be seen is tragic in nature, albeit based on a recent (1573) incident. The actors playing these now-unnecessary allegorical figures are transformed by minor costume changes in front of the audience into two conspirators, Anne Drurie (Ms. Anderson) and her servant Roger (Mr. Trautwein), who figure in the murder that will occur in the course of the play.

Anne Drurie is next-door neighbor to the married couple of George Sanders (Robert Bryan Davis) and Anne Sanders (Sims Lamason). Mr. Sanders has a debt due, payment of which is complicated by his wife’s insistence on luxuries, but basically their marriage is happy and monogamous. That is, until George Browne (Tamil Periasamy), a recent guest to dinner at their house, becomes enamored of Anne Sanders and uses information about George Sanders’ travels, supplied by Anne Drurie and Roger, first to encounter Anne Sanders alone and then to waylay George Sanders.

The seduction of Anne Sanders is performed in pantomime, narrated by Tragedy and incorporating dance moves from two Furies (Emily Nedvidek and Lauren Brooke Tatum). A similar pantomime occurs later, when Browne convinces Anne Sanders that her husband needs to be dispensed with. That’s when the play starts going downhill.

We are introduced to a seemingly extraneous character, Beane (Bob Lanoue), who meets two even more extraneous characters, Old John (Richard Herren) and his servant Joan (Catherine Thomas). The scene seems to be intended to be comic relief, but falls pretty flat. The need for the scene becomes clear only when Beane becomes an additional victim in the murder of George Sanders by George Browne. An innkeeper (Trey Harrison) and the Sanders’ daughter (Teagan Williams) round out the cast, and are introduced in a more organic fashion.

Once the murder occurs, it’s a long slog of remorse, imprisonment, confession, and execution. Anne Sanders has denied any knowledge of or involvement in her husband’s murder, but finally confesses at her execution. Director Brent Griffin’s staging of this scene is quite nice, showing the judge (Ms. Osborn) and lords on the balcony above, as the curtains below it are parted and we see a tableau of the hanged Browne and the bodies of his victims, George Sanders and Beane. Then the whole cast does a dance and song to finish the production.

The elements of drama, dance, and dumb show are nicely rendered in Resurgens Theatre Company’s production. Sims Lamason’s choreography is elegant and sprightly, Matthew Trautwein’s music is sweetly reminiscent of Elizabethan tunes, and Tamil Periasamy’s fight choreography is effective. Costumes, by Catherine Thomas, beautifully capture the period. These fine technical elements are joined by fine direction and some excellent acting.

Lauren Brooke Tatum and Emily Nedvidek are wonderful dancers and also deliver a few lines with conviction. Teagan Williams graces the stage with good stage presence. Catherine Thomas and Bob Lanoue bring their minor characters to life, and Trey Harrison gives a little fire to his. The players in the love triangle (Ms. Lamason, Mr. Davis, and Mr. Periasamy) all fulfill their roles with appropriate intensity, let down only by the somewhat tedious morality of the script. Matthew Trautwein and Richard Herren seem less comfortable on stage than the others, with Mr. Herren seeming to have line memorization issues at the performance I attended. Catie Oborn is excellent as essentially our mistress of ceremonies, the black smear of makeup on her face giving her a striking appearance. Perhaps best of all is Ash Anderson, sparking her role of Anne Drurie with little glints of unexpected comedy.

Brent Griffin has distilled the anonymous script of "A Warning for Fair Women" to two hours of uninterrupted play time, giving a 400+-year-old play its New World premiere. Since it was originally performed by the Lord Chamberlain’s Men (Shakespeare’s troupe), it’s an interesting historical artifact, and it’s not half bad as entertainment. It’s interesting and informative to see what was playing alongside Shakespeare’s works in London of the late 16th century. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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