By Valerie Victor
In Lynn Nottage’s 2004 play “Intimate Apparel,” a black seamstress dreams of opening her own business in early 20th-century New York City.
The period piece touches on issues of race and gender, but its main focus is on the lead character and her struggle not to give up on her goals.
“We did research on the year 1905 to prepare for this play. It’s about an African-American woman in New York City during a time when women were at the bottom of the totem pole,” Janice Capuana, the play’s director, said. “We really needed to understand the time and the period to really have the actors portray these characters well.”
The plot develops as the main character Esther, a seamstress played by Danielle Taylor, works to open a beauty salon, and describes everything she encounters throughout the process.
“We really want the audience to see the yearning and diversity in the characters. The strength and the dreams, and the hope the characters have despite the world being against them,” Capuana said. “We want to get them to dream that unfulfilled dream we all have as human beings.”
Nottage even throws in a little romance and betrayal to flesh out the story.
“The seamstress falls in love and gets her heart broken, and everything that happens after that is a sight to see,” political science major Marianne Tiesler-Megna said.
The play has received plenty of good reviews to date.
“I liked the way it’s set up, how they portray feelings, it was very realistic,” Shabeena Sameed, 19, said. “I think it’s a great life experience.”
During a recent performance, many of the audience members stopped to talk to the actors afterwards.
“I liked it a lot. I like the drama,” Dom Jones said. “I like the cast, and most of all, it has very strong acting. It’s a classic tale, a woman falls in love too fast.”
The cast and the director want the audience to enjoy the experience and walk away with a number of different messages.
“What the audience will take away from this is that not everything will end up how you think it will,” Alvaro Rivera, who plays the character Mr. Marks, said. “Even though things are going in one direction, it can go in another direction.”
If you go
When: Through Saturday, Dec. 12
Where: Milton G. Bassin Performing Arts Center, York College, 94-45 Guy R. Brewer Blvd., Jamaica
Cost: $10/general admission, $7/students with CUNY ID
Contact: (718) 262-5375