Actors Scene Unseen | Mary and Myra

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Mary and Myra

by Actors Scene Unseen

Actors Scene Unseen proudly announces its latest Spoken Word CD and 2013 Grammy entry, Mary and Myra by acclaimed playwright, Catherine Filloux. This 2-CD set tells a story of the imprisonment and emancipation of one of America's most historic figures.
Genre: Spoken Word: Storytelling
Release Date: 

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1. Introduction (feat. Elizabeth Peterson-Vita & Monica Grabin)
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2:35 $0.99
2. I Am Your Mischievous Lawyer (feat. Meg Wood, Linda Callahan & Monica Grabin)
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18:35 $0.99
3. When You Have Lost a Husband and Three Sons... (feat. Meg Wood, Linda Callahan & Monica Grabin)
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26:32 $0.99
4. Quite a Showin' Tonight (feat. Meg Wood, Linda Callahan & Monica Grabin)
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3:35 $0.99
5. You Are a Dirty Dog, Robert (feat. Meg Wood, Linda Callahan & Monica Grabin)
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17:10 $0.99
6. Let Her Be Released! (feat. Linda Callahan, Linda Callahan & Monica Grabin)
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19:11 $0.99
7. Credits (feat. Elizabeth Peterson-Vita & Monica Grabin)
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1:05 $0.99
8. The Homespun Dress (feat. Monica Grabin)
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2:14 $0.99
9. The Battle of Shiloh Hill (feat. Monica Grabin)
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3:32 $0.99
10. Tenting Tonight (feat. Monica Grabin)
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3:57 $0.99
11. Many Thousands Gone (feat. Monica Grabin)
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2:28 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
It is highly ironic that Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of Abraham Lincoln, framer of the Emancipation Proclamation, should find herself in such dire need of emancipation herself. Having witnessed the violent assassination of her husband and the death of three of her sons, Mary often exhibited depressive and eccentric behavior. Using this as a pretext, her only living son, Robert, committed her to an insane asylum in Batavia, Illinois in the summer of 1875.

Although being held under close guard, Mary managed to get word to her close Chicago friends, James and Mrya Bradwell. Myra Bradwell, considered to be America’s first female lawyer, and at the time, a prominent figure in the woman’s suffrage movement, rushed to Mary’s side and to her aid.

Mary and Myra chronicles the complex relationship of Myra Bradwell and the captive Mary Todd Lincoln, in the context of reconstruction America and the woman’s suffrage movement.

Mary and Myra features Meg Wood as Mary Todd Lincoln and Linda Callahan as Mary Bradwell. The production was directed and narrated by Elizabeth Peterson-Vita. The recording was engineered by James Vita and features a musical score of Civil War and Reconstruction era music by Monica Grabin.


Reviews


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Wildy Haskell

"... a work that might just become an essential part of American Theater."
Actors Scene Unseen is an innovative theatre company based in Charlotte, North Carolina that offers traditionally staged productions in addition to audio-only theatre content both on radio and in recorded formats. Established in 2003, the company provides daily streams on its website of past radio productions, while bringing the out of the mainstream works into the light. Actors Scene Unseen’s distinctive use of recorded media and radio includes traditional readings of new plays with original music and carefully selected period music to match the setting, scene and modality of a play. Their latest recorded effort is a play entitled Mary and Myra, written by award winning playwright Catherine Filloux.
Mary and Myra follows the story of Mary Todd Lincoln beginning in 1875. Bereft after the assassination of her husband, Mrs. Lincoln engages in a string of increasingly disturbing behavior; or at least that’s the story of her only son, Robert, who has her committed to the Belleview Asylum in Batavia, Illinois. It turns out that Robert is in fact living off his parent’s money and fame, and bad mouthing mom in social circles. Myra Bradwell, a friend to Mary Todd Lincoln and the first female lawyer in the U.S., comes to the rescue. Mary And Myra is a conceptualization of the bond between these two women, and the rocky sidebars they take on the path to winning Mrs. Lincoln’s freedom.
Actress Meg Wood inspires the image of Mary Todd Lincoln with a sense of devilish intellect and insecurity, weaving her way through periods of madness and lucidity with a confidence and sense of humor that is charming. Linda Callahan, likewise, inhabits the role of Myra Bradwell as if it were a well-fitting glove. The embattled feminist campaigner copes equally with the strictures of a male dominated society and the inertia of women such as Mrs. Lincoln who chomp at the bit of society’s restrictions but essentially accept their lot.
The interactions between Meg Wood and Linda Callahan in Mary and Myra are at times magical. The full gamut of human emotion is extolled here: love, hate, anger, frustration, and yes, even a sort of dark humor at times pervades. Viewers familiar with the movie version of Mary Chase’s Harvey will at times be reminded of the chemistry of Josephine Hull and Victoria Horne when listening to the edge of madness / edge of frustration interactions of Wood and Callahan.
The 2-disc set is supplemented by period songs offered up in the rough-hewn but thoroughly enjoyable voice of Monica Grabin. Her take on Carrie Belle Sinclair’s “The Homespun Dress” is achingly beautiful, and reflects the sensibilities and heart of a southern woman as she waits for her soldier to come home. Grabin’s take on “Tenting On The Old Camp Ground”, (re-titled here as “Tenting Tonight”), is likewise a thing of beauty. Her take captures the melancholy reminiscence of soldiers who are longing for the comforts and pleasures of home.
Actors Scene Unseen offers a unique perspective on American Theater that often gets lost in the glitzy lights of Broadway these days. Mary And Myra is utterly refreshing, mixing humor, drama and feminism in a classic underdog story turned on its head. Catherine Filloux once again proves her pedigree with a charming and lively script full of human tragedy and transcendence, but Meg Wood and Linda Callahan bring the story and characters to life for the listener at home. Monica Grabin’s musical offerings are a fine aperitif, putting the proper exclamation on a work that might just become an essential part of American Theater.
Rating: 4. 5 Stars (Out of 5)

Review by Wildy Haskell