‘Mrs. Warren’s Profession’ tells of a madam

Karen Griesinger (left) as Mrs. Warren and Kenzie Hall as Vivie Warren rehearse for the Middletown Lyric Theatre’s production of “Mrs. Warren’s Profession.” CONTRIBUTED
Karen Griesinger (left) as Mrs. Warren and Kenzie Hall as Vivie Warren rehearse for the Middletown Lyric Theatre’s production of “Mrs. Warren’s Profession.” CONTRIBUTED

Middletown Lyric Theatre to present show in March.

Middletown Lyric Theatre will bring “Mrs. Warren’s Profession” to the stage for five performances on two consecutive weekends — on Friday and Saturday, March 3, 4 and March 10, 11. By presenting a social commentary, the play tells the story of a madam, who attempts to come to terms with her disapproving daughter.

This classic theater piece was written by George Bernard Shaw in the late 1800s. It was first performed in London in 1902. We caught up with MLT cast member Karen Griesinger, who plays Mrs. Warren in the local production to talk more about her role and what audiences can expect from the show.

Q: Karen, tell us about yourself and your role on stage?

A: "I'm a retired school teacher from Middletown High School. I taught speech and theater here for 30 years … I taught theater and directed plays, and was the speech coach at the high school, so this is something that I've always loved to do. I loved teaching, but I also loved acting. I think I would have loved to have been an actor when I was in college, but real life sets in, and I switched majors, and pursued an education degree. I don't regret that, obviously, I enjoyed my teaching career, but to be able to act on the stage is truly like living the dream."

Q: Is this the first time, you’ve been involved in one of MLT’s shows?

A: "No, I've been involved in several productions, including a dinner theater show. I directed Bright Ideas. I was also in The House of Blue Leaves. I can't remember all of them, but I try to be involved at least once a year. If a year goes by that I haven't done a show, I really miss it."

Q: What are you enjoying the most about this experience?

A: "It's so different, because it's a period play. It takes place in England at a time when women didn't have any opportunities for good employment. The play shows you two sides of life. Everybody wants to do right, but sometimes to exist, the only way to exist is to do what other people don't consider right, which is wrong. And, having that come together. This woman that I'm playing didn't have much of a chance. She tried honest work, and was slave-driven, basically, and she becomes a madam. She has a daughter, who has no idea what kind of business her mother has. Her mother has always sent her to private schools, so she has received the best education from her mother's money, and she only rarely sees her. In this play, the daughter finds out what her mother has done for a living, and continues to do, and that's the big deal."

Q: What would you hope audiences would walk away with after they see the show?

A: "Well, hopefully, they will be more open-minded about what is considered right, and what is considered wrong. And they'll look deeper into people's lives. Instead of just seeing black and white, they might realize there is a whole life behind the phrase, 'walking a mile in somebody's shoes,' and they'll become more open to the things they might have thought were inappropriate."

Contact this contributing writer at gmwriteon@aol.com.

How to go

What: “Mrs. Warren’s Profession”

When: 8 p.m. nightly on March 3, 4 and March 10, 11, which are Fridays and Saturdays. Additionally, there will be a matinee performance at 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 11.

Where: Middletown Lyric Theatre, 1530 Central Ave., Middletown

Admission: $15 (plus applicable ticket service fees). Tickets are on sale at www.middletownlyric.org, or by calling (513) 425-7140. Advance purchase recommended.

More info: www.middletownlyric.org or 513-425-7140

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