"Intimate Apparel," by Two-Time Pulitzer Prize Winner Lynn Nottage, Opens on April 26: The College at Brockport

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"Intimate Apparel," by Two-Time Pulitzer Prize Winner Lynn Nottage, Opens on April 26

April 26, 2019 7:30 pm–9:30 pm

Drama focuses on finding love in the early 20th century.

In two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage’s drama Intimate Apparel, an African-American seamstress named Esther works in the Manhattan of the early 1900s, designing and sewing undergarments for everyone from society matrons to women of ill repute. Feeling frustrated and overlooked when it comes to love, she embarks on a pen-pal courtship with a man more than 1,000 miles away, even though intimacy may be closer than she realizes. The play, produced by the Department of Theatre and Music Studies, opens on Friday, April 26, 2019, at 7:30 pm, in the Tower Fine Arts Center Mainstage. Tickets are $17/General, $12/Seniors, Alumni, Faculty and Staff, and $9/Students.

Nottage, the only woman to receive two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama, has said that “All of my plays are about people who have been marginalized… erased from public record.” Esther certainly thinks of herself as invisible, to potential romantic partners. As a spinster in 1905 New York, she may have felt that society would not allow her to pursue a future with either the forward-thinking, rich, sophisticated Mrs. Van Buren, or with the Jewish Mr. Marks, a Lower East Side purveyor of the fabrics Esther uses in her trade. Thousands of years of religious traditions and social mores keep them apart. While Esther toils away, sewing intimate apparel, intimacy eludes her. Her resilience empowers Esther to make her life her own.

The production is being directed by Jasmine B. Gunter, a directing fellow at Geva Theatre Center. Gunter has been a directing intern at the prestigious Seattle Repertory Theatre. In addition to being a freelance director, she has taught playwriting and acting for the Berkshire Theatre Group and directed the 24 Hour Plays: Nationals in New York City last summer. She feels that Esther “faces a lot of tough trials through the play. There are moments where we, as the audience, will see her defeated and devastated. But at the end of the play, there is a sense that wherever Esther goes from here, she will be okay. She is strong enough.”

Though she has directed at several renowned regional theatres, Gunter has also worked on the collegiate level before. Her experience with college-aged actors has been that they “bring so much optimism and so much trust to a production… possibly more than a seasoned actor. There is this eagerness to learn and soak up knowledge about what it means to truly act and truly be in the moment. In a way, they are more willing to take risks on stage. It’s refreshing to watch.”

Performances of Intimate Apparel will take place on April 26, 27, May 2, 3, and 4, at 7:30 pm. There is also a 2 pm matinee on Sunday, April 28, which will be ASL interpreted.

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Tower Fine Arts Center Box Office: (585) 395-2787

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