April 1, 2015
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL: Patsy Cline and Louise Seger might be thought by some to be a hard act to follow. But Nicole Stodard, Thinking Cap Theatre’s producing artistic director has found two women whom she knows can more than fill the bill. The fascinating relationship between Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West will be examined in Eileen Atkins’ Vita & Virginia which will run at The Vanguard, Broward County’s newest performing arts space, from April 17th through May 3rd.
Atkins’s epistolary play deftly weaves the letters and diaries of essayist and novelist Virginia Woolf and poet and novelist Vita Sackville-West into a conversation between two passionate, intelligent, and intensely literate women. Woof was 40, and Sackville-West was 30 when they met in 1922, and their correspondence began shortly thereafter, ending only with Woolf’s suicide in 1941. Their affair was as much literary as physical; although each had husbands, and in Sackville-West’s case, numerous lovers of both genders. Woolf’s son Nigel once referred to her 1927 novel Orlando, which was inspired by her relationship with Sackville-West, as “the longest and most charming love letter in literature.”
Barbara Sloan will play Virginia Woolf in the production, and Niki Fridh will take on the role of Vita Sackville-West.
“I’m excited to be playing Virginia Woolf,” says Sloan. “It’s always a challenge to take on historical figures because people often have preconceived ideas about who they were. This play is based on letters between these two women over a 20 year period, so you are hearing their own voices rather than the playwright’s, allowing us to get a rare and intimate glimpse into their world. And I’ve always wanted to work with Niki Fridh. She’s an interesting actress with great instincts!
“It’s also an honor to work with the courageous visionary Nicole Stodard,” she continues. “She not only produces challenging and thought provoking work, but also took a risk and opened a theatre!”
“I’ve known Barbara Sloan for a number of years and have wanted to work with her on a project for a long time,” says Fridh. “This piece will be quite the challenge for both of us….challenging I think, because there is no dialogue between Vita and Virginia – the entire play is only letter correspondence between the two women. However, I know that Nicole wants the piece to be magical, erotic, and whimsical. Vita Sackville-West was very intelligent, eccentric, adventurous woman who lived life to its fullest. I can only hope that I do justice to her free spirit and open heart.”
“Thinking Cap Theatre is known for staging more experimental plays, so I was very excited to discover Atkins’ play about Virginia Woolf, one of my favorite experimental fiction writers,” says Stodard. “The play is witty and sensual and poignant in its depiction of same-sex desire in an age that still lacked the language to name it and the legal freedoms to allow it. I’m thrilled to be working with two of South Florida’s finest actresses to bring these iconic women of the modern era to life on stage.”
Eileen Atkins has worked in the theatre, film, and television consistently since 1953. She has won several major acting awards, including a BAFTA, an Emmy and three Olivier’s. She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1990 and Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 2001. Although she is best known as one of the co-creators (along with Jean Marsh) of the British series Upstairs,Downstairs, she has played numerous roles in film, on stage, and television.
A post-show talkback with gender & literary experts will follow the Sunday April 19th, 5 pm performance. Tea, scones, and other treats will be provided by various sponsors including Eat the Tea, Starbucks, and Croissan’ Time.
The Vanguard, which officially opened its doors on March 13th, has been enthusiastically received by local artists, theatergoers, and nearby businesses. The new venue is located at 1501 S. Andrews Avenue in what was formerly a church when the building was first erected in 1939.
Vita & Virginia will run from April 17th through May 3rd at The Vanguard.
Tickets are $35, and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased online at www.vanguardarts.org , http://thinkingcaptheatre.com or by phone at 813-220-1546. Performances are on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 pm, and on Sundays at 5 pm. The venue is located at 1501 S. Andrews Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale, 33316.
For more information, production shots, head shots, or to set up interviews, please contact Nicole Stodard at 813-220-1546 / firstname.lastname@example.org or Carol Kassie at 561-445-9244 / email@example.com or visit www.vanguardarts.org or http://thinkingcaptheatre.com
Vita & Virginia
By Eileen Atkins
April 17 – May 3
Tickets: $35 ($37.22 with s/c)
Friday, April 17th is Opening Night
Double Feature, Saturday, April 18th, matinee at 3pm; evening performance, 8pm
Thursday – Saturday at 8 pm
Sunday at 5 pm
1501 S. Andrews Avenue
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316
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