History Matters/Back to the Future is a national nonprofit organization that “promotes the study and production of women's plays of the past, awarding “Sallie Bingham” grants to four students across the country to produce plays by female playwrights written before 1965. Senior theatre major Ellen Everitt will use one of the grants to fulfill her creative vision:
Everitt plans to direct “The Emperor of the Moon” by Aphra Behn. The play, which was published in 1687, is on the obscure side and is not performed often. Everitt’s production is still in the beginning stages, but is planned to be performed in spring 2019.
This is not the first production Everitt has directed. She also also directed “And Baby Makes Seven” by Paula Vogel for the Thalian Blackfriars in fall of 2017.
Everitt was drawn to “The Emperor of the Moon” in part because of the playwright, who was a spy. She was also one of the first female playwrights to get her work produced in England. Everitt wanted to produce one of Behn’s lesser-known works and finds Behn’s writing prolific.
“She was this really awesome, badass female playwright,” Everitt said.
The play is a farce about a man who wants to marry his daughter and niece to men on the moon, who he believes are superior to Earth men. The two women then trick him into letting them court who they want by convincing him that they have met men from the moon. Everitt wants to portray this story through a queer lens and replace the men with women. She attributes this unusual take as part of the reason why she got the grant.
Now there's a way to begin a career in theatre. Congratulations to Everitt for re-imagining this gem and finding a way to bring it to the stage, to her faculty advisor, associate professor Margaret Carlson, and to the Red & Black for sharing the story. As we approach the centennial anniversary of women at UGA (we'll have more on that next week), young women on campus very much continue to inspire, discover and lead the way.