ember 2002

"The Mother of American Drama"

On Tuesday, December 3, Footlights continues our "Women at the Footlights" series with "Alison's House" (1930), by Susan Glaspell (1876-1948), once widely known as "the mother of American drama" (New York Post). In "Alison's House," the family of a famous poet gathers, after her death, to sell the house where she lived & wrote. There, a startling discovery raises wrenching questions of privacy, propriety, & the public's right to know. "Charming" (New York World) & "poignant" (New York Sun), "Alison's House" is "intelligent" (Nation) & "thoughtful" (New York Daily News), "haunted by genius" (New York Times). It won the 1931 Pulitzer Prize & made the Boston Herald's 1999 list of "Best Plays of the Century."

At her height, Susan Glaspell "was held to be one of the American theater's leading figures, if not its shining light." So writes our December speaker, J. Ellen Gainor, in "Susan Glaspell in Context: American Theater, Culture, and Politics 1915-1948" (2002). Dr. Gainor teaches in the Department of Theatre, Film and Dance & is associate dean of the Graduate School at Cornell University, whose alumni club is a Footlights co-sponsor. She has contributed chapters on Susan Glaspell both to "American Playwrights 1880-1945" & to "American National Biography," & is currently co-editing "The Complete Plays of Susan Glaspell," scheduled for publication in 2005.

We'll meet in December at Pan Asian Noodles & Grill, 2020 P St., NW, just west of Dupont Circle. Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. (just when on-street parking limits lift); our discussion ends at 9:30. Make reservations by calling 202-898-4825 any time, day or night, or e-mailing [email protected].

You can get copies of "Alison's House" only in the collection "Worthy But Neglected: Plays of the Mint Theater Company" (2002). Call 212-315-9434, go to, or e-mail [email protected].

Greatest Hits Update

This season's Greatest Hits series continues on Sunday, December 15, 2:30 p.m., with a performance of Edward Albee's Pulitzer Prize-winning "A Delicate Balance" (1966). "Brilliant" (Nation), with both "grace of style" & "lacerating wit" (New York Post), "A Delicate Balance" portrays the dilemma faced by an aging suburban couple, who must decide whether to expand their household to accommodate their best friends, fleeing a terror they cannot define. The performance takes place at Everyman Theatre, 1727 N. Charles St. in Baltimore. We can get you there; just ask. Tickets are $16 & include a special post-show discussion. Mail your check, in time to arrive by December 3, to Robin Larkin, 5403 Nibud Ct., Rockville, MD 20852 (240-669-6300 & [email protected]). All sales are final.

Meet the Playwright

"Women at the Footlights" continues Monday, January 13, with a brand-new play. In "The Last Seder" (2002), four sisters join their parents for a final family holiday before their Alzheimer's-afflicted father moves to a nursing home. Still a work-in-progress, "The Last Seder" has already won praise for its "considerable humanity and richness" (Chicago Sun-Times). Our meeting will feature "Seder" author Jennifer Maisel. Critics across the country have hailed Maisel's work. The Chicago Tribune found "Dark Hours" (1991) "disturbing and rhapsodic"; the Village Voice called "Mad Love" (1993) "a stunner." "Eden" (1999) won the top prize at the Seventh Annual California Playwrights Competition. To reserve your copy of "The Last Seder," call 301-443-8005 or e-mail [email protected]. At 9:30 p.m. December 3, we'll start taking reservations for our January meeting (call 202-898-4825 or e-mail [email protected]). We'll attend the East Coast premiere of "The Last Seder" 3 p.m. Sunday, January 26, at Theater J, DCJCC, 1529 16th St., NW (Dupont Circle metro). Tickets are $22 & include a post-show discussion. Mail your check today to Robin Larkin, 5403 Nibud Ct., Rockville, MD 20852.

Discussion Meetings

Tues., Dec. 3: "Alison's House," Pan Asian Noodles
Mon., Jan. 13: "The Last Seder," Pan Asian Noodles
Thurs., Feb. 13: "Intimate Apparel," Delray Viet Gdn
Mon., Mar. 3: "Elizabeth the Queen," Pan Asian Noodles

Theater Trips

Sun., Dec. 15: "A Delicate Balance," Everyman Theatre
Sun., Jan. 26: "The Last Seder," Theater J

More Information

For more information about Footlights, check our website, You can subscribe to our list & receive our monthly e-letter for free by sending any message--even blank--to [email protected].