Oregon State University Theatre will present the West Coast Premiere of Elizabeth Kuti’s historical drama, The Sugar Wife on the Withycombe Main Stage (30th and Campus Way) March 1-3 and 9-10 at 7:30 p.m. and March 11 at 2:00 p.m. The play, described below, will most definitely appeal to those interested in exploring the lives of women in the past.
Set Dublin’s Quaker community in the 1850s, Hannah and Samuel Tewkley invite freed slave Sarah Worth and her companion Alfred, a lapsed Quaker from York, into their home as Sarah tours on the Abolitionist speaking circuit. Samuel runs a thriving tea and coffee shop in Dublin and must deal with the infamous sugar trade trying to procure sugar not produced by slave labor. This compelling tale weaves fiction with history and grapples with ethical issues of business, money, and morality. OSU Theatre Arts professor and director, Dr. Charlotte Headrick, is a great admirer of Kuti’s work, having directed Treehouses in 2005. She comments on this exciting production, “There is romance, intrigue, and the social relevance of the question of how we make our money, where is the morality? It is fast moving and has some real moments of humor but this is a drama that should make audiences leave the theatre debating the actions of these characters.”
To put the play into its complex historical and sociological perspective, OSU Theatre will be hosting a post-show discussion for audiences on March 10 which will include Headrick and OSU’s Ethnic Studies professor, Dr. Robert Thompson.