POSSESSIONS is a new play, conceived, written and performed by Jane Bergeron (UNDA) & Carrie Ann Quinn (UMass Boston). The play was produced by Escape Artists Theatre Company www.escapeartiststheatrecompany.co and staged at the Elliot Norton Award-winning Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215. The production ran June 20th – 29th June 2013.
In the seventeenth century, the beautiful Mancini sisters became notorious for abandoning their aristocratic husbands, dressing as men and travelling unchaperoned throughout Europe. In and out of chateaux, courts and convents, they shocked polite society with their scandalous lives. Even more shockingly, they attempted to salvage their tarnished reputations by writing and publishing their memoirs.
Bergeron and Quinn devised the script over a period of two years with various collaborators, including NEA award-winning performance artist Daniel Stein www.danielstein.org and New York-based Turkish theatre director and film-maker Onur Karaoglu http://onurkaraoglu.blogspot.com. They also won a competitive residency at the Ko Festival of Performance hosted by Amherst College where they spent a week developing the play. When not on the same continent, much of their communication has been via social media, email, and Skype. Says Bergeron: “This seems particularly appropriate to our project since it mirrors the lives of the women we have been researching for the past two years. The Mancini sisters employed the written word to engage one another and their audience, refusing to keep quiet three hundred and fifty years ago, when the ‘other voice’ was typically silenced.”
POSSESSIONS juxtaposes historical texts (letters, memoirs, poetry, pamphlets) with new technologies (YouTube, Wikipedia and blogs), period and contemporary music, multi-media and art to illustrate how the lives of the17th century Mancini sisters mirror themes in women’s lives today. Quinn comments: “Interestingly, we discovered the steps the sisters took to leave their husbands in the 17th century are almost the same as the 14 points listed on the Wiki How to Run Away from an Abusive Home.”
Bergeron and Quinn co-founded Escape Artists Theatre Company in 2011. POSSESSIONS is their first international collaboration.
Bergeron, Jane M., "Possessions" (2013). Arts Live Performances. 5.