Wit & Wisdom…Monologues of Ruth Draper

Madison, Meet Ruth Draper

Picture an evening with your funniest and most interesting women friends, chock full of laughter, unexpected revelations, and sparkling commentary on the human condition.

That’s Wit & Wisdom: Monologues of Ruth Draper, an upcoming production from TAPIT/new works Ensemble Theater, running October 5-7 in the Wisconsin Studio at the Overture Center, 201 State Street. Performances are at 7:30 pm Friday and Saturday, October 5 and 6, and 2 pm Sunday, October 7.

Featuring a diverse cast of 10 female actors, aged 26-81, in an immersive, cabaret-style performance, Wit & Wisdomwill introduce area audiences to the work of Ruth Draper, the most famous actress you’ve probably never heard of.

Ruth Draper (1884-1956) was a solo performer long before it was cool. She literally performed before the crowned heads of Europe (Queen Mary and King George V) and counted Laurence Olivier and George Bernard Shaw among her fans. Agatha Christie modeled two characters after her – and Lilly Tomlin and Tom Waits both cite her as a major influence.

The monologues selected for Wit & Wisdomshowcase Draper’s evergreen understanding of the human experience and her wicked sense of humor, administered with a kindly touch.

Audiences will visit a class in “Greek Poise,” track a married couple’s breakfasts through the years, follow the latest trends in doctors and diets, and, in general, learn more about Draper’s characters than they know about themselves. Musical interludes from Julia McConahay, “Madison’s rocking solo violinist,” weave throughout the monologues.

Director Catie O’Donnell is guiding the top-notch cast of leading area actors; Pam Adams, Nedra Bobo, Liz Light, Krystal Lonsdale, Kiki Moritsugu, Jody Reiss, Peggy Rosin, Sarah Whelan, and Danielle Dresden and Donna Peckett, of TAPIT/new works Ensemble Theater. Patricia Micetic, light designer and Rebecca Stanley, costumer round out the talented company.

Outreach is essential in TAPIT/new works projects. To introduce teenagers to Draper’s delightful work, and inspire a new, diverse generation of theater artists, Peckett and Dresden will conduct monologue workshops with area middle and high school students. Selected participants will perform their monologues as part of the Sunday matinee performance and appear live on WORT-FM’s Access Hour later in the fall.

For tickets, contact the Overture Center Box Office at www.overture.org or 608.251.4141. For information, contact TAPIT/new works Ensemble Theater, at info@tapitnewworks.orgor 608.244.2938.

This project is supported, in part, by The Great Performance Fund for Theater, a component fund of the Madison Community Foundation; the Wisconsin Arts Board, with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts; Dane Arts, with additional funds from the Endres Mfg. Company Foundation; the Evjue Foundation, Inc., charitable arm of The Capital Times; the W. Jerome Frautschi Foundation; the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation; the Madison Arts Commission, with additional funds from the Wisconsin Arts Board; and the Neil Allen Peckett Memorial Fund of TAPIT/new works.

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