Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Elden Street Players Boston Marriage

By • Apr 5th, 2007 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of Elden Street Players’ production of Boston Marriage [MP3 4:49 1.4MB].

Laura: Sunday evening we saw Elden Street Players‘ production of Boston Marriage in Herndon, Virginia.

Mike: Boston Marriage is a play written by David Mamet. The play concerns two women at the turn of the twentieth century who are in a Boston Marriage, a relationship between two females that involves physical and emotional intimacy. The story focuses on Anna and Claire. They are arguing over Claire’s new found love while the Scottish maid, Catherine is brought to tears by her employer’s harsh verbal rebukes. Things get tense as Anna, the mistress to a wealthy gentleman, tries to talk Claire out of her profession of love for another, a young woman. Claire has already made plans for her young love to meet at Anna’s house in the hopes that she will be able to persuade her new love to engage in a sexual act. Things go awry, however, when the girl arrives and recognizes that a piece of jewelry that Anna is wearing belongs to her mother. The crisis lies in the question: Will Anna and Claire be able to find a way to hold on to both the girl and her wealthy but unfaithful father?

Laura: This was a well acted show. Both Anna and Claire, the verbal sparing between the two of them was really funny. It took me a few minutes to get into the language of it, but once that happened I enjoyed watching them go after each other and also taking on the poor maid. She was just trying to do a good job.

Mike: The description of the show I just read really doesn’t do it justice. That was the plot of the show, but really there wasn’t much of a plot. The two women, Anna and Claire, just kind of kept sparing at each other and insulting and then would be nice to each other. There were a few times when they would be fighting back and forth and then one of them would up the ante with some choice four letter words. These are totally unexpected to members of the audience. All of a sudden it comes out and the audience would gasp and get reinvigorated. Then the same thing would happen when they would fight back and forth and things would be back to normal. It was kind of a show seeing women acting like men. It was a good show overall even with all that in there.

Laura: Anna, the mistress of the household, was played by Shannon Khatcheressian. She did a very good job. She was very stately. Very proper, but at the same time had the sharpest tongue in her mouth and really let it go at Claire and Catherine the poor maid. She did a very good job.

Mike: Claire was played by Pamela Sabella. I really liked her characterization of Claire. She seemed very much in control. Very manipulative and very responsive of the insults that would come from Anna. She didn’t shy back. She threw them right back at her. She was more compassionate to Catherine, but then within minutes could turn around and be very dissmissive of the maid. Claire was a mystery. Not a confusing character, but you didn’t know what was going to happen next and that was part of the attraction of the show. You didn’t know what they were going to do next.

Laura: Catherine the maid was played by Molly Hicks. She did a very good job also. She was trying to keep her mistresses comfortable, but was never sure what was going to come out of their mouths. I liked her expression especially when Anna was giving her a tongue lashing. She had no clue what was going on. She actually had some very funny lines without necessarily meaning to be funny.

Mike: The set was very nicely done. It was definitely up to the standards of Elden Street Players. There was lots of chintz wallpaper all around. One of the characters even said, “I don’t even like chintz, but I thought you might like it.” That was kind of sweet. The set was designed by Marty Sullivan.

Laura: The costumes were also very good. The costume designer was Denise Young. They were definitely the style of the turn of the twentieth century. Very stately. To me they looked uncomfortable. They had these awful corsets they had to wear. The dresses were nice bright colors. They showed off their station in life very well.

Mike: There was a lot of attention to detail in the whole show. I think it worked very well. I liked the sound effects. I liked how the maid would come on and off and kept in her place respective to the women. I think it all worked together very well. This show is definitely not for children. There is a good deal of adult language and situations throughout the show.

Laura: Boston Marriage is playing through April the 14th. Friday and Saturday at 8 at the Industrial Strength Theater in Herndon, Virginia.

Mike: The show is about an hour and 45 minutes long with one intermission.

Laura: And now, on with the show.


  • Anna: Shannon Khatcheressian
  • Claire: Pamela Sabella
  • Catherine, the Maid: Molly Hicks


  • Director: Debbie Niezgoda
  • Producer: Rich Klare
  • Stage Manager: Richard Durkin
  • Set Designer: Marty Sullivan
  • Master Carpenter: Gina Gabay
  • Assisted by: Michael Schlabach
  • Scenic Paint: Cathy Rieder
  • Set Dressing and Props Designer: Michael Smith
  • Assisted by: Eileen Mullee
  • Sound Designer: Stan Harris
  • Lighting Designer: Keith Ryder
  • Master Electrician: Tom Epps
  • Costume Designer: Denise Young
  • Dialect Coach: John Barclay Burns
  • Publicity: Rich Klare, Josh Doyle, Ginger Kohles, Jaime Grace
  • Graphics Design: Josh Doyle
  • Playbill: Ginger Kohles
  • Box Office: Todd Huse
  • House Manager: Dave Sinclair
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