The American Legacy
220 East Fourth Street ~ New York, New York 10009
Administration: (212) 995 8410 ~ Tickets: (212) 995 5302
Someone Must Wash the Dishes:
An Anti-Suffrage Satire
Postponed to a date TBD
CELEBRATING THE CENTENNIAL of WOMAN'S SUFFRAGE
Many women fought against the Vote. New Yorker Marie Jenney Howe fought them with humor.
When Howe’s “An Anti-Suffrage Monologue” was published, in 1913, American women had been struggling for the Ballot since 1848—and would continue that struggle for seven more brutal years, until the signing of the Nineteenth Amendment, in August 1920.
Arguments laughable now were dire warnings a century ago. "Someone Must Wash the Dishes" dissects those in a lively lecture following Howe’s “Monologue.” Michèle LaRue leads us from Votes for Women to financial ruin, sex wars, and the degradation of humankind.
No one contested the Ballot with more charm, prettier clothes—and less logic—than Howe’s fictional speaker: “Woman suffrage is the reform against nature . . . Get what you want. Pound pillows. Make a scene. Make home a hell on earth, but do it in a womanly way.”
"Someone Must Wash the Dishes" premiered at New York City’s fourth-annual “Womenkind Festival,” directed by Warren Kliewer, for New Jersey’s East Lynne Company. Michèle has performed Dishes at 250 venues, garnering reviews ranging from, “Better than the best stand-ups!” to, “I would have learned a lot more in school if she had been our teacher!”
Additional reviews, photos, sponsors: MicheleLarue.com/someone-must-wash-the-dishes
Michèle LaRue tours nationally with a repertoire of literature by Gilded Age and Progressive Era American writers. Metropolitan audiences have seen her in Dorothy Canfield Fisher’s The Bedquilt (1913), Edith Wyatt’s The Parent’s Assistant (1901), Elsie Singmaster’s Gettysburg: One Woman's War (1913), and Edith Wharton’s Roman Fever (1934).
Michèle has a long history with New Jersey’s East Lynne Theater Company, uniquely founded, in 1980, to specialize in earlier American plays and literature. A Chicago native, she is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA. As an editor and writer, she has collaborated on several notable theatre books and was, for a decade, senior editor at Back Stage Weekly.
Warren Kliewer founded The East Lynne Company in 1980, and was its producing artistic director until his death in 1998—producing all, and directing most, of the troupe’s first 46 productions. Among these were John Howard Payne and Washington Irving’s Charles II, Rip Van Winkle as performed by Joseph Jefferson III, David Belasco’s Madame Butterfly, Rachel Crothers’ He and She, and the world premiere of Samuel Low’s 1788 comedy, The Politician Out-Witted. Warren’s own publications include three books of poetry, a short-story collection, and numerous plays. Among his best-known are The Booth Brothers and The Berserkers—both produced by NYC’s New Dramatists—and A Lean and Hungry Priest, which premiered at LA’s Scorpio Rising Theatre.
Marie Jenney Howe was born in Syracuse, New York, in 1870. Her mother was a pioneer suffragist; her sister, a practicing lawyer. Having earned her bachelor’s degree of divinity at Meadville Theological School in Pennsylvania, Marie became a popular minister at the First Unitarian Church in Des Moines, Iowa. Returning to the secular world, she married fellow Progressive Frederick C. Howe, a lawyer and civil servant, in 1904. Six years later, the couple moved to Greenwich Village. There she was a singular catalyst in many reform movements—including Woman Suffrage, in which she figured prominently as a speaker and organizer.
In 1912, Howe founded “Heterodoxy”—a club for diverse and influential professional women “who did things, and did them openly”—which she led until her death in 1934. Her “Anti-Suffrage Monologue,” published by the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), in 1913, was performed at Pro-Suffrage meetings around the county. Her 1927 biography, George Sand: The Search for Love, was widely praised. In 1929, she followed it with her translation of Sand’s journals.
Elaine Bromka, Staging Consultant
Florence Rutherford, Costume Design
Ken Smith Quiet Heart Images, Photos