This weekend, the Columbia University Players will be presenting Playgrounds, a world-premiere play based on the playwright’s own experience as a nanny in Brooklyn. Bwog recently sat in on a rehearsal to investigate.
In CUP’s official blurb, director Lilla Goettler BC ’14 explains that the piece “tells the story of Justine, a young woman who has moved to Brooklyn to become a ‘caretaker’ for her cousin’s child. Amidst the wealth and dysfunction of Brooklyn family life, Justine struggles to find a niche among the other nannies and navigate her trying relationships with her extended family members. Despite her attempts to begin anew, Justine’s murky past keeps getting in the way, as secrets surrounding abuse, addiction and betrayal unravel. Playgrounds reminds us that even in the wake of tragedy, we are forced to rebuild as the world continues on.”
Sarah Sander is an up-and-coming playwright that seeks to create “theatre that challenges, provokes and inspires [her] to think above and beyond [her] own petty concerns”, inspired by “Albee, Churchill and Pinter: all brutally elegant”. According to Goettler, Sander’s style is characterized by “realistic dialogue interspersed with moments of intense theatricality.” The playwright has been extremely involved with CUP, modifying the script in light of feedback she heard while visiting rehearsals.
Goettler’s directing approach calls into question what it means to be a caretaker, the challenges unique to working mothers, and the feasibility of overcoming one’s past. The whole production team chose this piece hoping to rectify the gender parity problem in contemporary theatre. Playgrounds is one of the few plays ever produced on campus written “for women by a woman.” The tension between working mothers and the nannies that care for their children is a central element to this production and adds another perspective to the conversation sparked by DSpar’s recently-released book, Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection. The production team hopes their piece engages the audience and invites them to join this ongoing conversation.
Location: Glicker-Milstein Theatre
Date/Time: October 17-19, 8pm
Tickets are $5 with CUID and $10 for the general public. Tickets will be available for purchase online via the CUArts Initiative and are available in person at the TIC.