February 12, 2001
tackles sexual violence
By Deb Hammacher
Theater Emory travels difficult terrain in its latest production, the
Southeast premiere of Wendy Hammonds Jersey City, which runs
Feb. 15March 3 in the Mary Gray Munroe Theater.
Ultimately a story of recovery and redemption, the play revolves around
15-year-old Magaly (played by Emory student Taylor Dooley), a scrappy
teenage runaway who flees her Brooklyn home for Jersey City, N.J. Magaly
finds herself on the seedy side of town, befriended by a stripper and
strip club bouncer.
Rounding out the cast are students Jennifer Hohensee and David Pollack
and Atlanta actor Ron Prather. Audiences are cautioned that this production
includes explicit language and frank depictions of sexual violence.
Theater Emorys relationship with Hammond goes back several years.
Her play Mormons in Malibu was part of Theater Emorys 1995
Brave New Works Marathon, a biennial play development program within the
Playwriting Center of Theater Emory.
The companys longstanding relationship with Hammond is one of the
reasons acting Artistic Director Leslie Taylor chose one of her plays
for this season.
Weve worked with Wendy for years, and shes someone
I respected. I also wanted to do a work by a woman, Taylor said.
She sent me a number of scripts, and I chose this one. While its
the far more difficult, it had more student roles. And it spoke about
a topic that often gets treated melodramaticallynot as honestly
as this did. I also thought the writing was economical and beautiful.
Director Ariel de Man strives to show the complexities of such situations.
I dont want any easy villains, de Man said. I
want to look at what causes patterns of abuse and how hard it is to break
those patterns. I want to find out what all four of the characters have
in common, since all have been through traumatic experiences of different
I think thats absolutely remarkable and amazing. We dont
even have stars attached to it yet, so it was the passion of the producer
and, I hope, the merits of the script that raised over a million [dollars]
to make the thing.
Hammonds screen adaptation of her play Julie Johnson premiered
in January at the Sundance Film Festival, starring Lili Taylor, Courtney
Love and Spalding Gray.
The public is invited to a reception and discussion with the playwright
and faculty of Emorys Violence Studies Program in the faculty dining
room of the Dobbs Center after the Sunday, Feb. 25 matinee.
General admission tickets for Jersey City are $14 ($7 for students).
For more information, call the Arts at Emory box office at 404-727-5050 or send e-mail to email@example.com.