Publisher: Elizabeth Hurd / Managing Director: Adrienne Proctor / Editor: Jillian Pritchard Ball

3rd Act Theatre Company Delights with “Setting the Nation Right” and other “Easy Plays for Women”

Seated from left, Caitlin Cairns, Lauren Peña and Denise Hughes. Standing from left, Anna Holloway, Cara Chesney, Sarah Nilson, Meredith Harrison and Lana Henson in “Setting the Nation Right” and other “Easy Plays for Women” at 3rd Act Theatre. Photo courtesy of J. Christine Lanning

Bell Elliot Palmer was a well-known playwright of her day which is, amazingly, about a century ago.  Her short one-act “Setting the Nation Right” was published in 1924 and the collection of short plays in “Easy Plays for Women” was published in 1933.   Palmer’s extensive career spanned a period of over 40 years of plays and short stories.  She specialized in one-act comedies ‘clean and suitable for church, school or dramatic clubs.’  While her plays and stories are all exactly that, they are also charming thoughtful and, best of all, amusing.  3rd Act’s presentation reflects the great strides that were being made at that time, but also emphasizes the continued relevance of feminine concerns today.  (We may pretend not to be so concerned with domesticity, but we are, as loving matriarchs guiding our husbands and preparing our children for a worthy and enjoyable life.)

Amandanell Bold reveals her remarkable directing talent in this production in many interesting ways. There are nine separate productions and the eight actresses have quite similar roles in each play.  Nevertheless, they all create separate and interesting characters in every instance. The production opens with “Setting the Nation Right” and follows with four selections from “Easy Plays for Women” while Act 2 contains four more selections from “Easy Plays for Women” resulting in a couple of delightful hours viewing great theatre.

Denise Hughes and Lana Henson in “Setting the Nation Right and other Easy Plays for Women” at 3rd Act Theatre. Photo courtesy of J. Christine Lanning

Exceptional performances come from Denise Hughes and Lana Henson. Both of these talented ladies deliver perfect performance on every level.  Meredith Harrison is a welcome addition to 3rd Act Theatre and delivers an exuberantly great performance as well.  Caitlin Cairns is a delightful and forceful actress delivering superbly in this production.  Anna Holloway is a very funny lady, and when she hits her stride invites steady laughter. Lauren Peña has a lovely aspect in all of her characters behind an occasionally impish grin.  Cara Chesney creates  mystery with remarkable skill especially in ‘Meet Mrs. DeLong’ playing Hattie Field.  Sarah Nilson delightfully makes her 3rd Act debut with this show and is sure to join future wonderful casts as well. 

Amandanell Bold is assisted by Allyson Kubat, Stage Manager, on an excellent set by Don Taylor.  Dakota Lee Bryant is responsible for costumes and Bold is boldly  both sound and lighting designer.  She is a talented group all on her own with an added ability to capitalize on exceptional people for cast and crew.

“Setting the Nation Right and other Easy Plays for Women” is live at 3rd Act Theatre in the Shoppes at North Park Mall from March 12 through March 27.  There is a streaming version available on March 28, 2021.  Curtain is 8:00 pm evenings and 2:30 for matinee performances.

Lauren Peña (left) and Cara Chesney (right) laughing during storytime! Photo courtesy of J. Christine Lanning.

Things are starting to loosen up a little, and theatres across the country are looking forward to opening their doors a little wider.  The folks at 3rd Act Theatre understand how important it is to remain vigilant and healthy during this crucial time and are maintaining social distancing for audience members as well as requiring masks.  All the actors are still wearing face shields and working with them beautifully.  It is interesting to note that actors are required to project again and that is wonderful.  Concessions are closed to ensure our health.  For information and tickets visit www.3rdacttheatreco.com or call 405-593-8093.  The best mall entrance for the theatre is at the Hacienda Taco’s entrance at 12040 N. May Avenue, The Shoppes at NorthPark Mall. Hacienda Tacos are open and the fare is great.

As promoted by Bell Elliot Palmer 100 years or so ago “Setting the Nation Right” and other “Easy Plays for Women” are ‘clean and suitable’ but also a great deal of fun with quite a few chortles from the men.  Don’t miss it!

Anna Holloway (brown coat) and Lana Henson (maroon coat) are gleefully ‘California Bound’ leaving Photo courtesy of J. Christine Lanning