by Kelsee Jackson, dramaturg
Think of it. England. Spring of 1909. There was talk of a new world, a changing world. Fashions were evolving, transportation was faster, and people were more educated. It was a booming time for business, a somewhat peaceful time for soldiers, and a happy time for families. It would have been nearly impossible to predict all the heartache that would ensue starting five years from when this story of Misalliance began.
We see through 21st century eyes. It is very difficult (and some would say impossible) for us to perceive the world without the lenses of the stock market crash, World War I and II, the Holocaust, or the Cold War. It is hard for us to imagine a time before nuclear weapons and televisions. This is a time when radios weren’t even commonly used in the household yet and no one had dreamed up Facebook or Twitter.
While we can’t take out our 21st century eyes, we can study the new world through temporary, early 20th century lenses. For the people of England, this was a time of growing, learning, and general happiness that had yet to be tainted by the world wars or economic depression. Women were speaking out, insisting upon rights that many of us take for granted today, and major technological advances were taking place with the invention of the automobile and airplanes. Indeed, these were big, society-changing alterations. Changes that would, and still do impact generations.
Misalliance takes place at the beginning of many of these major societal changes. It takes place before the realization of the difficulty and hardships that would soon occur. So of course, with no realization of what lie ahead, the people were curious and excited. The fact that this play is a comedy is no accident—it reflects the mindset of the times. So sit back, relax, put on your 1909 lenses, and enjoy this lighthearted comedy that is sure to give you a good laugh!