November 18, 2022—“The women. The female of the species. Sometimes livelier than the male; always deadlier.” Thus opens Clare Booth Luce’s classic play The Women, which actors of the Upper School Fall Play presented this past weekend in the David E. and Stacey L. Goel Theater, directed by Performing Arts Faculty Jeremy Johnson. Offering comedic satire, as well as a somewhat unflattering and exaggerated view of society women of the time, the play features a large ensemble cast and hundreds of dazzling costumes allowing Winsor’s talented cast to shine brightly.
Opening to a stage lit with hues of rose, thanks to the expert work of Technical Theater Director Andres Puigbo and student members of the stage crew, the cast stood frozen in frame in colorful historic costumes as in character as Nancy Blake (Asha Moreno ’23) introduced the members on stage. Set in 1936 New York, in this first scene, the ladies of Manhattan’s high society come to life at the table over a game of bridge, digging into each other, providing acid-tongued and quick-witted exchanges about other women and the men (frequently spoken of but never present.)
Liza Kuntz ’23 is hilarious as the meddling and poisonous Sylvia Fowler, Olivia Sarkis ’23 masters the nasal New York accent as the ever-pregnant and unhappy Edith Potter, and Sawyer Bowen-Flynn ’25 shines as the sweet and naive Peggy Day. Sharp-tongued and self-aware, Nancy is the only working woman, as a writer and traveler, and serves as the occasional narrator for the play’s action. Ava Bub ’23 is empathetic as Mary Haines, the play’s emotional center. “Living in a fool’s paradise,” she is blissfully unaware of her husband’s affair with Crystal Allen (Mae Myers ’24), the savvy and ruthless sales girl at Saks.
Sylvia, unable to keep any drama to herself, hatches a plot to inform Mary of her husband’s infidelities, thus bursting the bubble of happiness and driving the action of the plot. As the audience, we follow Mary’s emotional journey through betrayal, divorce, and calculated redemption. Even her costumes (masterfully styled by Costume Designer Jessica Pribble) evoke her journey from wronged wife to triumphant comeback queen, beginning with delicate white florals and finishing in a dazzling red sequin gown. By the end of the play, two years later, Mary appears to succeed in wielding her power to further her own gain and win her husband back.
Mina Feldman ’25 gives a superb performance as Lucy, the manager of a divorce hotel in Reno, NV, where many of our leading ladies spend a few scenes. Decked out in plaid with a cowboy hat and boots, we meet Lucy singing and accompanying herself on the guitar at the start of Act II. Chloe Chao ’23 brought the house down with her comedic genius as the overdramatic and pampered Countess de Lage, who by the end of the drama is on her fifth divorce.
The production has many twists and turns that keep the audience laughing. At more than one occasion, the brutal sparring among the show’s ladies gives way to all-out fistfights, hair-pulling, and leg-biting in an uproariously funny fashion.
Congratulations to the cast and crew of The Women! Special thanks to the Performing Arts Faculty who brought this production to life: Mr. Johnson, Mr. Puigbo, Ms. Pribble, Ms. McKinley, and Ms. Brady-Lopez.