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Horseplay, Or, The Fickle Mistress, A Protean Picaresque

February 13, 2015 - March 01, 2015

Wednesdays-Saturdays at 8pm / Sundays at 4pm (added performance Monday 2/16)

Ellen Stewart Theatre


By Theatre Askew

Written by Trav S.D. | Directed by Elyse Singer

Adah Isaacs Menken. The Naked Lady. The Great Bare. Prince Mazeppa. Infelicita. Dolorous. Black. White. Jewish. Catholic. Housewife. Lesbian. Actress. Poet. Equestrienne. World famous. Forgotten. Who was she really? Theatre Askewcontinues its celebration of the history of queer culture in New York City withHorseplay: or, The Fickle Mistress, a biographical reconstruction/Ridiculous reimagining of the life of the 19th-century international superstar, Adah Isaacs Menken.

Since 2004 Theatre Askew’s productions have attempted to straddle categories often set in opposition to each other: accessible and experimental; pleasing and provoking; popular and alternative. Past productions include Bald Diva! and i google myself (both nominated for GLAAD Media Awards) and I, Claudius. In 2009, Askew kicked off its queer history series with the world premiere of William M. Hoffman’s Cornbury: The Queen’s Governor, starring David Greenspan and Everett Quinton. This production marks the company’s La Mama debut.

"Ms. Pope, an assured performer with a brazen alto, shines in the role, changing her accent and identity even more often than her bloomers. “I’m whoever I need to be,” Adah tells a lover. With brio and brass, Ms. Pope is, too."  --  NEW YORK TIMES

"Before there was Kim Kardashian, there was Adah Isaacs Menken… and there is no more delightful way to learn about Menken than Trav S.D.'sHorseplay... It's a rollicking and unbelievable story, overflowing with scrappy DIY theatricality."  --  THEATERMANIA

"Pope is marvelous, fluidly changing accents and outfits in front of our eyes (costumes, wigs, props and set pieces are all in full view), belting out a few numbers in her smoky voice and maintaining charm when delivering some very dark punch lines." --  TIME OUT, NY

"Under Elyse Singer’s zippy direction, the versatile troupe of actors play multiple roles, often making head-spinning rapid character and gender switches... But none of this would work without the central and terrific portrayal of Adah Isaacs Menken by Molly Pope, in whose acting you’ll find traces of Barbra Streisand, Gilda Radner, Mae West, Carol Burnett, and Bette Midler."  --  TALKIN' BROADWAY