Friday, February 8, 2013

Mrs. Warren's Profession

The Mad Cow Theatre is staging George Bernard Shaw’s scorching tour de force, "Mrs. Warren’s Profession" which tells the story of Kitty Warren, a mother who makes a terrible sacrifice for her daughter Vivie’s independence. The clash of these two strong-willed but culturally constrained women is the spark that ignites the ironic wit of one of Shaw’s greatest plays. The show runs from February 8 to March 3, 2013.

Sarah Lockard is starring as Vivie and she asked me to come to a rehearsal to sketch the assistant director Melissa Cooper.  I went to the Mad Cow Theatre an hour before the rehearsal was to start so I could get the sketch done before the dress rehearsal. I walked into the theatre and started walking back stage. From behind me I heard "Can I help you?" I explained that I was looking for Melissa. I watched a tech adjusting a stage light from high atop a ladder as I waited. Melissa greeted me and when I mentioned the sketch she lit up. She tried to ask director Eric Zivot where we should do the sketch but he was heading out to get dinner.

Sarah was bringing in a Victorian lace blouse but she hadn't arrived yet. Melissa sat in a stern hard back wooden chair and I started sketching her portrait as we waited for the blouse. Melissa was posing as Honoria Fraser a character who doesn't appear in the play, but the final act is staged in her office. Melissa was wearing a black Nike "Just Do It T-shirt and it was hard to resist sketching it. Sarah arrived in a flurry with the blouse. Melissa slipped it on right over her T-shirt and I sketched it in.

The rehearsal was about to start so I lost Melissa as she had to get the stage props set. She returned later and I started adding color. Sketching seems eternally slow when there is so much commotion back stage. Actors started appearing in their period costumes speaking their lines out loud to themselves. The priest seemed quite pleased with the sketch. Eric, the director, however felt she should look more formal. I had enjoyed sketching Melissa's thin chiseled features so much that I had her smiling. Melissa posed one more time looking stern as she pursed her lips.

The dress rehearsal was a full run through of the play. Sarah was impressive with her haughty high society airs. The set, designed by Lisa Buck functioned as both an exterior and an interior. Between acts furniture was moved and panels added to change the look. I will not revel any story points other than the fact that Kitty Warren's voice breaks into a crisp street urchin rogue when she discusses her profession with her daughter. It is like watching a high society female Jekyll and Hyde.

Tickets are $34. Seniors and students with ID receive a $2 discount.
Opening Night is February 8, 2012.  Join us for a champagne toast after the performance.
Pay What You Wish Performance is Wednesday February 27 at 8pm. Tickets are $15.00 in advance and Pay What You Wish at the door. The Pay What You Wish tickets will be sold only in person at the Box Office starting at 7pm. Two tickets per transaction only. Tickets are limited until sold out.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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