Welcome to our Featured Play Spotlight. Scarlet Expectations of a Drowned Maiden and Two Greek Queens by Robert Wing is a fabulous theatrical gem of a comedy that allows student performers to have a ton of over-the-top fun.
On today’s episode of The Dee Dee Show, legendary TV talk show host Dee Dee Dane welcomes women who just can’t seem to get it right when it comes to men. But, Dee Dee’s guests aren’t just any women.
These relationship-challenged women are none other than some of literature’s most memorable characters: Hester Prynne from The Scarlet Letter, Ophelia from Hamlet, Miss Havisham from Great Expectations, Penelope from The Odyssey and Medea from, well, Medea.
It is a farcical and funny meeting of minds that makes today’s episode very special indeed.
Why did we publish this play?
I love plays that take explore theatricality and there’s nothing more theatrical than to take a character from one scenario and drop them into another. The talk show format has been done before and it’s hard to do in the theatre – there’s a lot of sitting. It takes a special play and special characters to make it comes to life and Robert has done just that.
1. Why did you write this play?
This play started off as a “riff” during a class I was teaching. My students and I were discussing something from The Scarlet Letter (I think I’m the last teacher in the world who assigns the book) and I got off track (as usual) and starting yakking about one of my favorite female characters in literature, Miss Havisham from Great Expectations . I described her splendid decay and her gorgeously-narcissistic decision to give herself over to grief at being left at the altar – toooo fabulous for words! (If memory serves me correctly, I imitated her disheveled ambling the classroom. Ah, good times.)
2. Describe the theme in one or two sentences.
Strong women from literature and the weak men they love – next on the Dee Dee Dane show!
3. What’s the most important visual for you in this play?
When Miss Havisham reappears after her makeover – too funny. I’m giggling just thinking about it. And the commercials! They took forever to record when my school produced it, because Duke Symanski, (the psychology teacher at my school with a beautiful, deep announcer’s voice) couldn’t stop laughing when recording the voice over. None of us in the studio could for that matter. (I wonder where that recording is…I must have it somewhere.)
4. If you could give one piece of advice for those producing the play, what would it be?
Good grief – have FUN! Don’t hold back. This play is over-the-top. No, that’s incorrect: this play is that place you get to after you go over-the-top, you know, the over-over-top-top. Oh, have fun with this one, gang – have fun!
5. Why is this play great for student performers?
Curiously enough, this play actually has a fair amount of instructional value. All the characters share their tales of romantic woe, and in doing so encapsulate the plots of some timeless tales. Let’s see…There’s Hester Prynne (Scarlet), Miss Havisham (Expectations), Ophelia (Drowned Maiden), Medea, and Penelope (Two Greek Queens). Ta-da – there’s the title!