Ozioma Akagha

Meadows Theatre performs ‘Mrs. Warren’s Profession’ April 7-11

'Mrs. Warren's Profession' SMU Meadows Theatre rehearsal photo by Linda BlaseKitty Warren has made a fortune in the world’s oldest profession, but she has kept the secret from her daughter, Vivie – an independent, well-educated young woman who is horrified to learn the truth.

Meadows Theatre continues its 2009-10 season with its production of George Bernard Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession, running April 7-11 in the Greer Garson Theatre, Owen Arts Center. The guest director is René Moreno (’81, ’01), who also directed Meadows’ 2005 production of Federico García Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba.

Written in 1893, Mrs. Warren’s Profession originally was denied a license by Queen Victoria’s Lord Chamberlain, then in charge of theatre censorship, due to its subject matter. Not performed freely until 1925, the play stirred controversy not only for its allusions to prostitution, but for its attack on the domestic imprisonment of women by the male-dominated culture of the period. The playwright uses Mrs. Warren’s dilemma to explore both her struggle to win her daughter’s respect and the hypocrisy of the era’s genteel classes.

Shaw said he wrote the play “to draw attention to the truth that prostitution is caused, not by female depravity and male licentiousness, but simply by underpaying, undervaluing, and overworking women so shamefully that the poorest of them are forced to resort to prostitution to keep body and soul together…. Mrs. Warren’s defence of herself and indictment of society is the thing that most needs saying.”

Performances are at 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $7 for SMU faculty, staff and students. Buy tickets online or contact the Meadows Ticket Office, 214-768-2787 (214-SMU-ARTS).

(Above, M.F.A. candidate Morgan Southard as Mrs. Warren and senior theatre major Ozioma Akagha as VIvie in the 2010 Meadows Theatre production of Mrs. Warren’s Profession by George Bernard Shaw. Photo by Linda Blase.)

Meadows Theatre production has “Trouble in Mind”

Rehearsal for 'Trouble in Mind'Meadows Theatre presents an award-winning play from a groundbreaking and controversial writer with its production of Trouble in Mind, running Feb. 27-Mar. 2 in the Greer Garson Theatre, Owen Arts Center.

Written in the 1950s by African-American playwright, actress and novelist Alice Childress, the play revolves around the character of Wiletta Mayer, a black actress of a certain age who has spent her career playing stereotypes. As the curtain rises on her first day of rehearsal for “Chaos in Belleville,” a Broadway-bound play that tackles the harsh truths of racism in America, her insistence on her dignity may cost her the work she desperately needs.

Trouble in Mind was a smash hit off-Broadway in 1955, making Childress the first female winner of an Obie Award for best off-Broadway play of the year. The play was slated for a move to Broadway, which was canceled when Childress refused the producers’ request to brighten its ending for a commercial audience.

Tickets are $7 for SMU students, faculty and staff. For more information, call the Meadows Ticket Office at 8-2787 (8-ARTS) or visit the Meadows website. (Right, M.F.A. candidate Ginneh J. Thomas as Wiletta, senior Sky King as Al Manners and sophomore Ozioma Akagha as Millie Davis.)