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In Good Company focuses on female-centric theater

Cammie West, Sherri Marina and Sarah Carlton are Victorian lady explorers in 'On the Verge.'

Cammie West, Sherri Marina and Sarah Carlton are Victorian lady explorers in 'On the Verge.'

In Good Company is a New Orleans theater group predominantly made up of women that seeks to produce “female-centric” works while celebrating directors, producers, designers and actors of all ages, colors, shapes and backgrounds, says founder and director Rebecca Frank.

“We certainly are not limited to working only with women, but we absolutely place women’s work at the forefront of our scope. We created the company in order to work on plays that we love and right now we are taking it play by play, but we do have big dreams,” she said.

Starting Nov. 3, In Good Company will present On the Verge, or Geography of Yearning, a joyfully feminist play by Eric Overmyer, writer and producer of numerous TV shows, including The Wire, St. Elsewhere, Law & Order, and Treme, among others.

On the Verge focuses on three Victorian lady explorers, who traverse time and space. As “sister sojourners,” they whack through the wilderness of terra incognita with machetes. Played by Sarah Carlton, Sherri Marina and Cammie West, the ladies overcome every obstacle with tact and grace, dispelling the illusion they are the weaker sex.

“I produced and acted in this show 15 years ago in New York City,” Frank said. “It was a very different production from this one, and I am always surprised and excited by how interpreting a work can change over time. Different moments are [more] interesting to me now than they were then.”

“Our world has changed pretty drastically and our understanding of diversity, appropriation of culture and what it means to be an explorer of “Native” lands. This is not to say that Overmyer’s play is at all discriminatory or uncouth, but we, as a cast, were able to have conversations about privilege, appropriation, cultural sensitivity and how to bring portrayals to the stage that are sensitive and respectful while still celebrating and bringing audiences to the heart of the play.”

“All of our actors have made these characters their own - both in ways that I anticipated and in ways that have surprised me. I am so excited to work with Sherri Marina - who plays Mary - and has been a vital part our company for all three shows we've produced since our inception. In many ways her character is the real heart of the piece.”

“Cammie West, who plays Fanny, was the person who really set things in motion, taking the play from a dreamy conversation to a production in motion - she lit the fire under us, much like her character would.”

“Evan Spigelman, who works with Skin Horse Theater, is someone I always wanted to work with - his physicality and the way he commands each performance is a joy - and watching him work through each of his seven characters has been an inspiration. His performance is not to be missed.”

“I had never met Sarah Carlton before auditioning her, and I feel as though I have discovered a secret - she has challenged my take on Alex, her character, I now think about this character is a different way. It is this sort of opinion-changing moment that I relish as an artist - I'm a teacher by day, and I describe this feeling to my students as "your brain growing." In thinking about the character of Alex, and how Sarah has brought her to life, my brain has grown!”

On the Verge, will be presented at the New Orleans Art Center, 3330 St. Claude Ave., Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, Nov. 3-19 at 8:00 p.m.

Mary Rickard has been a regular contributor to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, New Orleans Advocate and Gambit, as well as newspapers and wire services in other locales. Feel free to send her comments or critiques at mary.rickard@sbcglobal.net.