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THE NEW WORD
By James M. Barrie
Directed by Barbara Zahora
Now streaming at www.misalliancerepertory.org
No charge - a gift to our supporters. (Donations gladly accepted)
In The New Word, an ordinary British family gathers after dinner on the eve of their son's departure for service in World War I. At once poignant and hilarious, it features a family caught up in global events that will change their lives.
Misalliance Repertory’s radio play production of James M. Barrie’s THE NEW WORD is now streaming
Veterans of ShawChicago follow their acclaimed THE MUSIC CURE with a comedy-drama set in WWI era Britain, by the author of PETER PAN
Misalliance Repertory Theatre, the company founded in 2020 by members of the former ShawChicago ensemble, has added a second audio play to their repertoire: James M. Barrie’s THE NEW WORD. Barrie’s 1915 play takes place on the night before a young man is leaving to join the army in WWI. It’s the last chance for a family to come together with some kind of understanding before the son leaves, possibly never to return. It is one of Barrie’s typically intimate and sympathetic studies of the tender commonplaces of daily domestic life, juxtaposed against the historic events of one of the deadliest conflicts in history.
Barrie’s 30-minute play is a short, but subtly insightful slice of life observing the impact of war on one family. The war has been underway for a year and 19-year-old Roger Torrance is about to assume his duties as a Second Lieutenant in the conflict. His rank of “Second Lieutenant” is “the new word” of the title. His father John Torrance says, “Till the other day we were so little of a military nation that most of us didn't know there were 2nd Lieutenants. And now, in thousands of homes we feel that there is nothing else. 2nd Lieutenant! It is like a new word to us.”
The play also explores the tensions in father-son and mother-son relationships of the period: how it was more acceptable for mothers and sons than for father and sons to express affection for each other. As Roger prepares to leave for the war, father and son re-evaluate that societal constraint, with John wryly observing, “We have, as it were, signed a compact, Roger, never to let on that we care for each other. As gentlemen we must stick to it.” Audiences will recognize the Barrie of PETER PAN in THE NEW WORD’s reflections on the nature of boys becoming men.
THE NEW WORD will be directed by Barbara Zahora
Artistic Director of Oak Park Festival Theatre, and Professor and Co-Director of Acting at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts. Zahora appeared frequently in productions at ShawChicago, where some of her favorite roles included Catherine in ARMS AND THE MAN, Hesione in HEARTBREAK HOUSE, the title roles in MAJOR BARBARA and CANDIDA, Maud and Carlotta in COWARD IN TWO KEYS, Nora in John Bull’s OTHER ISLAND, and Maggie in WHAT EVERY WOMAN KNOWS.
Richard Henzel, a veteran actor who appeared often with ShawChicago and other Chicago venues appears as the father, John Torrance. Henzel has performed his solo show, MARK TWAIN IN PERSON, throughout the U.S.
Misalliance Artistic Director Mary Michell, a core member of ShawChicago, plays the wife and mother Ellen Torrance.
Roger, the son going off to war is played by Austyn Williamson, who has appeared in THE TEMPEST with Oak Park Festival Theatre and HENRY V for First Folio Theatre. Additionally, he was an understudy in RABBIT SUMMER at Redtwist Theatre) and in HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF at Victory Gardens Theatre.
Appearing as Roger’s Sister Emma is Pricilla Torres, whose recent credits include Georgie in SPIKE HEELS (The Studio Theatre Tierra Del Sol), Juliet in ROMEO AND JULIET (The Shakespeare Project of Chicago), Anne Bullen and Others in UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY for Oklahoma Shakespeare, where she also appeared in HENRY VIII.
The production team for THE NEW WORD also includes George Zahora (Sound Designer, recorded at Narwhal Studios Chicago), Daniel Millhouse (Managing Director and Production Coordinator), and Tom Bachtell (Graphic Design).
ABOUT MISALLIANCE REPERTORY THEATRE
Formed by former members of ShawChicago Theatre Company, which delighted Chicago audiences for 25 years, Misalliance Repertory Theatre is a group of artists collaborating to bring you the works of George Bernard Shaw and his literary kindred: hilarious and provocative plays, rooted in social commentary. As we explore these plays with our audiences, we hope to start a conversation about the kind of world we want to live in.
Additional information on the company is available at www.misalliancerepertory.org.