By Kathy Carpenter
What do you do when all the men leave? You become the men. North Coast Repertory Theater presents the San Diego Premiere of “Into The Breeches!” written by George Brant and directed by Diana Van Fossen. Unexpectedly Refreshing, this play welcomes you into the WWII era. The issues are the same ones we face today. Sexism, racism, ageism, and homophobia. The themes the world seems compelled to entertain us with since Covid and the diversity issues that exploded prior to the outbreak.
The play is based on the history of the Oberon Theater in Providence Rhode Island in 1942 and the fact some theaters never went black until Covid. The theater carried on with the grit and strength of strong women like Maggie Dalton and a troupe of misfits. “The play is the war effort;” – Maggie said to Mr. Snow- to convince him to continue the Shakespeare season with her directing a band of women.
The story takes Maggie, wife and assistant to the current in-house director, who is driven to carry out the current season with women replacing the men. Who left for the war. An occurrence unheard of prior to the war. Women starring in plays, especially Shakespeare.
Maggie asks one diva driven actress and her friend to be her lead. The Diva, had played the female leads for the company for years The actress is reluctant to work for a female director, but Maggie reassures her she is acting as a front for her director husband (away at the war).
After Maggie secures the lead and with the assistance of a man who worked with her husband and the costumer whose husband is also away at war as her team, they hold auditions. Only two women show up. The play has a cast of 33. The other misfit to join the troupe is the wife of the man with the power to keep the theatre open. This group of zanys make up this fabulous cast. Can these women act? Well one can. The other’s become family as they band together and grow into strong women who can make the show work..
Enough can not be said about the cast of Into the Breeches, strong, talented, funny women perfectly cast\ making the characters so real you are drawn to them like a magnet. Maybe a relative from your past.or someone you know or would like to.
Melanie Lora plays the lead, Maggie Dalton, she reminds me of a cross between a young Julia Roberts and Geena Davis. The diva, Celeste, is played by Katie MacNichol, who if all the other actresses weren’t so strong, would have stolen the show. Shana Wride, who played the funny woman Winifred, wife of the money man, did steal the show a couple of times. Ida, the costumer, played by Taylor Henderson, is the down to earth character,. the grounded one, the rock of the group. June is portrayed by Mikaela Macias and Grace by Rosemarie Chandler, both who make the cast epic. The cast does include two males James Newcomb, the man with the power, classic entertainer and Geno Carr as the stage manager, Maggie’s strength, and pivotal to this magical cast.
This highly uplifting play is another show in the North Coast Repertory’s 41st season you will want to catch.
Into The Breeches
October 19 – November 13, 2022
Blues in the Night
January 11 – February 5, 2023