By Natalie Bieser
October 16, 2012
Raymond McAnally as Jeffrey and Dale Hodges as Mrs. Mannerly
The regional premiere of Mrs. Mannerly opened at the Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati (ETC) in Over-the-Rhine last Wednesday to a packed house and lots of laughs. Directed by Ed Stern, Mrs. Mannerly is the perfect play to bring humor and a little mystery into your night on the town.
Based on the playwright Jeffrey Hatcher’s experiences, during his 1967 manners class while growing up in Steubenville, OH, Mrs. Mannerly is a two-actor play. It’s performed by ETC veteran and Cincinnati resident, Dale Hodges (Mrs. Mannerly) and Raymond McAnally (Jeffrey), making his ETC debut.
Raymond McAnally as Jeffrey
McAnally plays the corky, curious, and precocious 10-year-old Jeffrey, who is a legacy member of Mrs. Mannerly’s class. He is already seemingly well-mannered but has decided to enroll in the class to avoid little league – so we think. McAnally also plays the other children in the class, quickly transforming between each character through voices on top of providing hilarious – but sometimes not-so-nice – commentary reflecting back on the screenwriter.
Hodges (Mrs. Mannerly) is a tough teacher who treats napkin folding, table setting and proper greetings as a life or death matter. In her thirty-six years of teaching etiquette she has never given a perfect score to any student. Mrs. Mannerly – we learn – had a life before Steubenville and Jeffrey becomes obsessed with uncovering her past before anyone else.
Excitement outside the theatre during opening night
As weeks of etiquette classes go by, students end up dropping out for various reasons leaving Jeffrey closer to the truth of Mrs. Mannerly’s past and closer to receiving the coveted perfect score.
The show is 85 minutes of non-stop fun containing mature language and themes that may not be suitable for children. Just remember to say your “please’s” and “thank you’s” to be welcomed inside the door.
Mrs. Mannerly runs through October 28, with performances on Tuesday-Sunday at the Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati. Location: 1127 Vine St. Cincinnati, OH 45202. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.ensemblecincinnati.org.
*Photo credits: Ryan Kurtz, All Rights Reservedto top ↑