American Players Theatre
5950 Golf Course Road
P.O. Box 819
Spring Green, WI 53588
Box Office: 608-588-2361
August 13 - October 9
Every so often a new play arrives that we simply can’t ignore. And oh my, The Moors. There’s no genre big enough to contain it. A dark and glimmering jewel that explodes from the stage through a Brontëan cannon, at various times absurd, romantic, vicious and deadly. At times, all of them at once, delivering pitch-black comedy that is desperately beautiful and deliriously entertaining. And all that before you hear the major players (Tracy Michelle Arnold, Kelsey Brennan, Jim DeVita and Colleen Madden) and the roles they’re playing (mysterious sisters, a mastiff and a moorhen). An irresistible confluence of the contemporary with the classical; a play that dares you to keep watching and pays off in theatrical gold.
Featuring Tracy Michelle Arnold, Kelsey Brennan, Kayla Carter, Aurora Real de Asua, Jim DeVita & Colleen Madden.
Fair warning: contains sexual themes and violence.
A young governess arrives at a remote manor after exchanging semi-romantic correspondence with one mysterious Mr. Branwell. But when the door opens, the only residents of the house seem to be Branwell's two sisters, a maid (or maybe two maids?) and a lovelorn mastiff. And no man to be found, or child to be cared for. An inspired, whimsical satire that both embraces and sends up the gothic musings of the Brontë sisters; a play the New York Times called "...the reason we go to theater."
APT's 'The Moors' is Thrilling, Inventive
Gwendolyn Rice, Isthmus, September 7, 2022
I've never encountered a play quite like The Moors. It defies easy description. It is a dark comedy, a deranged family drama, a tender love story, a delicious Victorian melodrama, and a gothic feminist thriller all in one. If great theater is about collision (as I believe it is) then Jen Silverman's wickedly wonderful The Moors is a spectacular pileup.
The Moors is the story of two sisters, both desperately unhappy, who live with a maid and their family dog in an isolated family home in the desolate wilderness. When a governess is summoned to their secluded mansion teeming with secrets, she (and we) find that nothing is as it seems. A lusty and savage tale inspired by the lives and works of the Brontë sisters, the playwright seizes on the tropes of Victorian story-tellling (the repressed passions, the long suffering women, the societal ills) but flips the script and reimagines the story anew.
In my exposure to Jen Silverman’s plays, I’ve been moved by her laser-focused interest in themes of transformation and legacy. I also appreciate how her work unmistakably belongs in a theater setting. It’s full of magic, style, contrast, heightened language, and requires the collaboration of the full spectrum of theater artists to bring her vividly imagined worlds to life. The Moors is daring and bold, meditative and profound, braids the past with the present, and is populated by characters who are mysterious and strange yet completely recognizable. Jen's plays are also deeply invested in putting women at the center of the narrative. That this play examines the role of women in society and culture, and encourages them to break out of those roles and step into their power feels to me both prescient and a revolutionary act.
The Moors is also an existential play, dealing intimately with our innermost desire to be authentically seen. This yearning resonates with me, perhaps it does for you too. Over the past two years of relative isolation, we’ve had to confront and ask ourselves tough questions about who we are and what we’re doing with our lives.
For as philosophical and foreboding as this play is, it's also joyful and exhilarating. There are multiple love stories baked in, one of which is between a mastiff and a hen. When the mastiff realizes his feelings for the hen he says, “I have the strangest sensation. It’s this feeling in my heart-cavern as if spring has come and all the birds are falling upwards.” The stage direction that follows reads: the mastiff falls in love.
I've been looking forward to sharing this play with APT for many years now. I hope you find it as irresistible as I do.
- Keira Fromm