String Around My Finger
by Brenda Withers
directed by Sally Wood
Originally produced at Portland Stage Company, Portland, ME
April 4 to April 23, 2017
About the Premiere Production:
Synopsis: String is a bitter-sweet comedy about big choices, small kindnesses, and losing what you didn’t know you wanted. In String, Emma and Kip find themselves in the hospital with a miscarriage of an unplanned pregnancy two weeks before their wedding. As Kip’s sister, Lisa, decides to micro-manage the couple’s life, Kip and Emma struggle with what this loss means to their shared future. As we weave through the hospital and relational maze, we find Emma navigating the conundrum of hospital billing, Lisa hiding out to use her cell phone, Kip just trying to do the “right thing”, an omni-present Physician’s Assistant with a wry sense of humor, and a mysterious older woman obsessed with Frank Sinatra. String explores how young Americans cope with romantic relationships, health care and insurance challenges, family dynamics, and personal loss.
Artistic Statement: String will be an invigorating addition to the American repertoire because it explores a difficult and personal subject matter from the point of view of a young woman, a voice seldom heard on stage. String tackles complex personal issues with both comedy and drama, personalizing the subjects of unplanned pregnancy and miscarriage. By using humor to frame a tragic event, Withers provides an opportunity to engage in a topic – miscarriage - that is often considered taboo. In a rarely voiced, but honest perspective on a difficult, personal topic, Withers explores the grey areas surrounding our evolving definitions of family, love, and "the right thing to do;" communicating an authentic, alternative point of view. Withers has an amazing command of contemporary dialogue, approaching the difficult subject matter of the play in a clever, witty and poignant manner. Because String speaks to anyone who has confronted loss, contemplated marriage, dealt with an overbearing in-law, or struggled with the complexities of healthcare in America, we anticipate a vibrant response from our community to this play.
Grant Statement: String will be a world premiere, full-scale production in our largest space, a 286-seat theater. This show will be part of our 6-play main-stage subscription series. String will have 22 performances, including 3 previews and up to three student matinees for high school students who attend from over a 120-mile radius. The play will run for four weeks from April 4-23, 2017. We estimate that this project will reach 5,000 regular attendees; 500 students and teachers; and about 30 artists and staff. By providing an extra week of rehearsal, the Edgerton Foundation helps us ensure that this new play has the best opportunity possible to be a lasting success by providing an additional week of rehearsal to allow the playwright to make adjustments to String Around My Finger. We understand that it is essential for all key creative personnel to be on site during the extended rehearsal period that would be provided by this grant.
Set Designer, Executive and Artistic Director of Portland Stage: Anita Stewart
Lighting Designer: Bryon Winn
Additional Funders Supporting String Around My Finger: Moser Family Foundation