Two strong female characters take center stage in Act II Playhouse’s next drama, Collected Stories by Donald Margulies, playing in Ambler from Oct. 23-Nov. 18.
In this witty and engaging play, a successful short story writer tries to mentor her student, but ends up creating a rival.
Collected Stories stars Susan Riley Stevens as Ruth Steiner, an acclaimed short story writer. Sarah Paton plays her talented student, Lisa Morrison. Taking place in Ruth’s Greenwich Village apartment, the play follows the two women over seven years, as the power dynamic between them continually changes. Their deepening relationship eventually comes to a dramatic head over a dispute about Lisa’s first novel.
“The conflict is so wonderfully tricky, sticky,” director Jessica Bedford said. “Every time I read the play, I come to a different conclusion about which character’s side I’m on. I love that.”
Tickets for Collected Stories at Act II Playhouse are $29-$42. Tickets are available online at http://www.act2.org, by calling the Act II box office at (215) 654-0200, or in person at 56 E. Butler Ave. in Ambler.
The play is only running for four weeks, and many performances are already close to selling out.
“This play was recommended to me for Act II but I had never read it,” said Act II Playhouse Artistic Director Tony Braithwaite. “I picked up a copy and started to read and couldn’t put it down. The dialogue just crackles: I hung on every wry whip-smart zinger and every powerful well-crafted monologue.”
Taking place from 1990 to 1996, before the internet would profoundly change publishing, the play is a snapshot of a distinct literary era. Margulies mixes references to both fictional and real-life writers, though the focus is primarily on Lisa and Ruth’s shifting relationship.
“This play features two powerhouse female characters – it’s them and only them on stage for the duration,” Bedford said. “We have two great female actors bringing them to life. I am so excited to work with them to discover these women – to find their attributes and their flaws, to explore their loves and their hurts, to uncover what makes them tick and what makes them human.”