(Clockwise from left) Tonya Beckman Ross, Emily Trask, Darius Pierce, Julie Jesneck and Michael Milligan play a high-stakes game in The Gaming Table at Folger Theatre.
“Her contemporaries thought she was a peculiar women,” Ziegler says of Cavendish. “[But] she had enough money to do whatever she wanted to do.”
The set, costumes and wigs alone are worth the price of admission.
The wooden stairways that crisscross the stage were inspired by M.C. Escher paintings and refer visually to the lack of time and confusion of space that characterize today’s casino. Marion Williams makes the stage a perfect backdrop for the confusion that must come with gambling away a fortune or love.
The costumes are rich in color and texture, a sumptuous feast for the eyes. They are incredibly detailed, though not exactly of the period. Like Grimm’s updates and Holdridge’s direction, costume designer Jessica Ford uses the period’s silhouettes as her foundation but creates something vibrant and lush that feels quite modern.
“The women [in ‘The Gaming Table’] have their own stakes, their own voices,” Holdridge says. “From the scientist to the reformer to the gamer, each woman strives to get her goal.”
Even if that goal flies in the face of social convention, the demands of their men or even their own best interest.