On Sunday, April 22, the Staten Island Shakespearean Theatre, in cooperation with the Conference House Association, presented a newplay by Anna Mione entitled Tea Party.
It was particularly significant to be in the audience experiencing this reading, as Wayne Miller (who produced and directed Tea Party) pointed out, set in front of the fireplace that cooked the meal served at the September 11, 1776 peace conference.
The Conference House was the perfect venue to bring the audience back to the time of John and Abigail Adams.
Anna Mione’s play has Sarah (Amanda Delalla) and Abby (Samantha Rose) reviewing American History for a quiz, with examples to correct the biased point of view of the history books.
For example, how many knew the British were the ones who taught the Indians to scalp people, paying them for the scalps?
Current references to the Tea Party of today, and to questioning if our founding fathers actually read the Constitution with how many in Congress actually read the Health Care bill before voting on it, worked their way into the story of the two young women’s discussion.
While I enjoyed the two discussing history, and evenl earned a few things I didn’t know, the crux of the play was Abigail Adams and her correspondence with James Lovell, brought into the play through discovery of letters in an antique desk one of their mothers had purchased.
Abigail supported John Adams from the start of the Boston Tea Party, keeping him steadfast in the revolt. She wrote to him every day, even though he only wrote back to her sporadically. She spent half of her married years alone, beginning her correspondence with James Lovell to find out more about her husband, but leading to a more personal correspondence between the two.
The end of the reading has an exchange between Abigail and Abby, but since I don’t believe in writing spoilers, I will just say this exchange between the two was the most important part of the reading to me, and I had hoped it would have had a more extended presence in the production.
After the reading, Wayne Miller presented Anna Mione to the audience, who answered some questions from the group, before joining us at the post show reception hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Maltese.
I was happy to have attended, honored to meet and to talk with Anna after the show.
Staten Island Shakespearean Theatre
Books by Anna Mione
Some references online to the correspondence between Abigail Adams and James Lovell: