Professional actors will read Tennessee Williams Playwright-in-Residence Edith Freni’s play The Mystic on Tuesday, April 11, at 6:30 PM in Guerry Garth (rain location Convocation Hall) on the campus of the University of the South. The event is free and open to the public. A reception and talk back will follow.
The staged reading will be directed by Jessica Holt, a freelance theater director based in New York, and read by actors Eliana Marianes, Christopher Hampton, and Lee Osorio. Joining the cast will be Sewanee theater professor emeritus Marcia Mary Cook and St. Andrew's-Sewanee School student Lucy Carroll. Elizabeth Stern, Literary Assistant at Playwrights Horizons in New York City, is the workshop dramaturg.
The play is inspired by the life of twelfth century German Benedictine abbess and visionary Christian mystic Hildegard von Bingen. Little Hildy is twelve years old and might be experiencing religious visions, or maybe she just suffers from bad migraines. Either way, she’s becoming a nuisance. If she can’t keep her visions a secret, her parents may send her away to live in a convent. Anima is a senior citizen living in an American suburb. She might be channeling the spirit of Hildegard von Bingen, but if she can’t convince her two adult children that she’s not succumbing to dementia, they may have to place her in a senior living community. The Mystic follows Little Hildy and Anima on interconnected journeys toward enlightenment and immortality via a fragmented narrative that is equal parts morality play, dancehall Vaudeville, and post-modern family drama.
Edith Freni is the current Tennessee Williams Playwright-in-Residence at the University of the South. She holds her BFA and MFA from NYU’s Department of Dramatic Writing, and her work has been produced and developed in New York and nationally at theaters including Steppenwolf, LAByrinth Theater Company, the Williamstown Theater Festival, Ensemble Studio Theater, New York Theater Workshop, Profile Theatre in Portland, OR; City Theater in Miami, and Actor's Express in Atlanta. Edith is a three-time nominee for the prestigious PONY Award and a two-time finalist for the Jerome Fellowship. She was a Kilroy's List Honorable Mention in 2014 and 2015. Her work is published by Playscripts, DPS, Smith & Krauss, and Applause. Edith was a 2015–16 Ingram New Works Lab resident playwright at Nashville Repertory Theater, and she received a New Territories Playwriting Residency at Serenbe Playhouse in 2015. She is the inaugural recipient of Emory University's Playwriting Fellowship and has taught playwriting at Emory, the University of Miami, Perry Mansfield Performing Arts Camp, and the University of the South.
This event is sponsored by the Sewanee Writers’ Conference in conjunction with the “A Sense of Space and Place: Global and Local Perspectives” conference.