Take What Is Yours is a valuable, indeed, needed reenactment of a very important part of America’s history. A reminder to us all of what the Suffragettes endured to achieve the vote for women. The production is noteworthy in both its historical accuracy and its honest presentation. The question then becomes, do we want to watch over an hour of someone suffering the pain and indignity of being incarcerated in solitary confinement, driven to a hunger strike, mistreated, brutalized and force fed? It’s a personal choice.
The writers, Erica Fae and Jill A. Samuels, expound the facts convincingly. The scenic design, as conceived by Jill A. Samuels, though minimal, is exceptionally effective. The set moves slowly and almost hypnotically with mechanical ease broken up by the sporadic emergence of blocks of space in which characters appear and disappear. The lighting by Alison Brummer is powerfully intertwined with the action and emotions on stage. The sound effects, though sometimes muffled, are consistently appropriate and the use of projected images designed by Tal Yarden add yet another impressive layer.
Erica Fae portrays Alice, a character based upon the documented facts surrounding Alice Paul and her time served at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia. It’s an extraordinarily challenging role which she performs with talent and expertise.
Wayne Maugans as The Man brings to life what might have been a somewhat bland character. Adrian Jevicki (Guard and Dr. Gandor), David Riley (Guard), and Courtney Stallings (Nurse) all do well with the somewhat limited dialogue and action they are given. It sometimes seems as though they are arbitrarily placed within the production in an attempt to provide a bit of variety and action.
There is very little room in the work for much levity and what humor there is often evolves out of sarcasm and results in gasps rather than chuckles. The ending however, though perhaps anticipated, is a delightful surprise.
Top and bottom photos by Augustinus Tjahaya
Middle photo by Alexander Berg
Take What Is Yours
Presented by ANECDOTA
Written by Erica Fae and Jill A. Samuels
Directed by Jill A. Samuels
59E59 Theaters, between Park and Madison
Through Sunday, May 27, 2012, Tuesday through Thursday at 7:15, Friday at 8:15, Saturday at 2:15 and 8:15 and Sunday at 3:15.