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Nottage's Story of Self-Discovery Comes to the Stage

“The language of Intimate Apparel is a thing of beauty, at times approaching poetry…The play is a story about citizens grabbing for the same crust of bread, occasionally pulling nourishment from one another’s mouths. It is a parable about sweet dreams and honeyed words that, in an instant, can turn sour.”

Los Angeles Times

The University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance presents Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Lynn Nottage’s tale of romance, ambition, and self-discovery, Intimate Apparel, March 1-9 at the Oscar G. Brockett Theatre.

Two women looking at blouse
Nickclette Izuegbu and Mykal Monroe star in Intimate Apparel, opening March 1 at the Oscar G. Brockett Theatre

Photo: Josh Rasmussen

It’s 1905 in Manhattan, and Esther, a gifted seamstress, dreams of marriage and longs to open a beauty parlor with the money she has quietly saved over the years. Through a series of long distance letters, Esther meets George, and her aspirations appear within reach.

Intimate Apparel premiered at Baltimore’s Center Stage in 2003, receiving rave reviews and recognized with the American Theatre Critics and New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Play. For director Melissa Maxwell, Lynn Nottage’s masterpiece offers audiences a story that, while set at the turn of the 20th century, is contemporary and universal.

“Before the telephone, letters were, by necessity, the common form of communication,” explains Maxwell. “The advent of email brought writing back into fashion. And now, certainly among younger generations, writing has become the preferred way to communicate: people would rather text or email than pick up a phone; they'll friend someone on facebook but not in person; they create fantastic profiles for themselves on dating sites. And often there is a great disparity between how they present themselves and who they are in the flesh. When fantasy finally meets reality - just as is the case for Esther and George in Intimate Apparel - it is often a rude awakening.”

Maxwell is a director, writer, and actor whose work has been seen on stage, television, and film. Current directing projects include American Slavery Project’s Unheard Voices and Vital Theatre’s Show Way, a children’s musical based on the award-winning book of the same name by Jacqueline Woodson.

Tickets are available online and by phone at 512-477-6060.

Monday, February 25, 2013