An Education in Prudence - How it all started aka How I met Beth Pt.1
Get to know how OTP's An Education in Prudence came to be with this 3 part blog series from Playwright, Stefan Lanfer.
In March, 2013, I was at a work event at the Barr Foundation – when a complete stranger crossed the crowded room, making a beeline for me. “
“Hi, I’m Beth,” she said, “I hear you’re a playwright.”
“I am,” I said. “How can I help?”
“There’s this story,” she said, “that has gripped me since grad school. I’ve always imagined it on stage. Can we talk?”
“OK,” I said.
I might not have given the interaction much more thought. But Beth, I would soon discover, is the type to follow through. So, some weeks later, at the Flat Back Coffee Company on Broad Street, we met again.
Beth Miller - Historian, Inspiration
Over lattes I launched into the advice-giving I had the impression she was looking for. I suggested books she might find useful, and shared ideas on how to go about writing a play. Beth politely listened. She asked questions. She took notes.
But, when finally I stopped talking, she made it clear she had no pretensions as a playwright herself, but was only looking for one, who might get as excited about this story as she was.
“Oh,” I said, embarrassed. “Would you tell it to me?”
And then I listened, took notes, and asked questions, as she recounted the story she’d first chronicled in her masters thesis, “Prudence Crandall: Challenging Race and Gender Boundaries in Antebellum America.”
Canterbury School for Girls circa 1820's & Portrait of Prudence Crandall
Soon, I was lost in this and other books Beth pointed me to. And, boy did I fall for this story.
And here we are, almost five years later, anticipating a world premiere by Open Theatre Project.
How Beth found me, and why she trusted me with this story, I don’t know. I am so very glad she did.
Up next in this 3 part series, PT. 2 - How Prudence Broke Through coming later this week...
Don't forget to get your TICKETS NOW for OTP's An Education in Prudence - February 9-24 at St. John's Church, Jamaica Plain
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