GREEN BAY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Brown County

Warren Gerds/Critic at Large: Caregiving a theme in dramatic play ‘Mary Jane’ in Green Bay

Critic At Large

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Theatre and Dance

Amy Herzog.

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV)

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Theatre and Dance will present Amy Herzog’s “Mary Jane” in seven performances starting this week in Jean Weidner Theatre of Weidner Center for the Performing Arts.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. October 17-19 and 23-26. Info: weidnercenter.com.

According to a press release: The production is directed by guest artist Noah Simon and performed by UWGB students.

“Mary Jane” is a play about a single mother, Mary Jane (Guinevere Casper), who is the caregiver for a 2-year-old who has multiple serious conditions including cerebral palsy. In her small New York apartment, Mary Jane faces the challenges put to her with extraordinary strength, compassion and what can only be described as unconditional love. Through her journey, Mary Jane develops a support system and connections with women from all walks of life. 

Noah Simon, a 25-year veteran of Chicago’s storefront theater community, describes “Mary Jane” as a play about “an existential struggle between what life could have been and what it is.”

To Simon, the play is also “a story about sacrifice and the strength and resiliency of a mother’s love for her child.”

Prof. Laura Riddle, chair of the UWGB Theatre and Dance Department, felt “Mary Jane” was an important production for the theatre students to take on because it is a subject that touches the lives of so many people: “Many people struggle with the weight of being a caregiver to a loved one, and this production shines a light on their struggles. It lets them know that they are not alone. And, for those who have never been a caregiver, it helps them to understand the obligations that someone takes on and why they would willingly do so.”

The play is new to this region.

“Mary Jane” was the winner of the 2018 New York Drama Critic’s Circle Award for Best Play and was also the recipient of the 2018 Obie Award for Playwriting.

Amy Herzog teaches playwriting as a lecturer at Yale University.

“Mary Jane” premiered at Yale Repertory Theatre from April 28 to May 20, 2017. The play ran Off-Broadway at the New York Theatre Workshop from Sept. 6 to Oct. 29, 2017.

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