Berkeley Repertory Theatre proudly announces the extended run of its’ world premiere, The House that will not Stand, a humorous and gripping historical drama commissioned from award-winning poet-playwright and Oakland native Marcus Gardley. Sensuous, witty, heartbreaking, and uplifting – The House that will not Stand unearths a story about free women of color in 1836 New Orleans, where black Creole women entered into common-law marriages with affluent white men.
When her wealthy lover mysteriously dies, Beartrice Albans’ foundation of wealth hangs precariously by a thread. She is left to fend for her three unwed daughters in a world where freedom must be carefully negotiated. Told in a rich and lyrical river of words, this new play was developed through The Ground Floor: Berkeley Rep’s Center for the Creation and Development of New Work. It’s helmed by Patricia McGregor, whose many credits include the celebrated production of Spunk at California Shakespeare Theater. The House that will not Stand begins previews on Berkeley Rep’s intimate Thrust Stage extended through March 23rd.
“Continuing Berkeley Rep’s commitment to commissioning new work and nurturing emerging talent through The Ground Floor — our incubator for new work — we’re delighted to premiere The House that will not Stand, a new play richly penned by Marcus Gardley,” says Michael Leibert Artistic Director Tony Taccone. “Marcus has been on the cusp of stardom for several years now and has reached a level of acclaim and justly deserved recognition. He partners with noted director Patricia McGregor who has a strong foothold here in the Bay Area from her well-received productions with California Shakespeare Theater. We’re eager for audiences to experience the lyrical, enchanting, and lush world that Marcus and Patricia have created in The House that will not Stand.”
Marcus Gardley interview
“I’m thrilled to be making my debut at Berkeley Rep in the backyard of my hometown of Oakland,” remarks Gardley. “The House that will not Stand is a story that is close to my heart and I’m grateful to have participated in The Ground Floor, which provided the creative space and artistic support to develop the play into what it is today. In writing this play, I was very much inspired by New Orleans and a particular time in its history when plaçage (the common-law marriages of white men and black Creole women) was a significant part of the culture. A lot of people don’t know about this history, and a lot of people do not know that African American women were millionaires. I wanted to expose and evaluate the culture and how African American women functioned in New Orleans society within the class system of that era. What’s powerful about the play and this time period is that you see all these questions about freedom coming together and clashing. It raises the notion of ‘what is freedom and can anyone be free?’