‘Blue Stockings’ showcases ‘complex’ characters, highlights realities of women in 1896

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  • Junior Shelby Eroen, pictured left, played Maeve Sullivan, a scholarship student at Cambridge University. "[My favorite part] is the story behind my role, Maeve. [Maeve] wasn't fortunate enough to stay in college, and playing that part was really impactful. Also, behind the scenes, the community we built while preparing for the play [was important to me]," Eroen said.

    Photo credit: Yasi Gohar

  • In this scene, Will gives Tess a telescope to profess his love for her. Junior Willa Frierson, pictured on the left, played Will, a student at Kings College. "This is the first time that I got the chance to do serious acting where I got a character that felt really human to me. It was really wonderful to connect with my own feelings and have an outlet for them on stage," she said.

    Photo credit: Yasi Gohar

  • Miss Blake lectures her students on the difference between love and knowledge. Sophomore Rio Hundley played Miss Blake, a lecturer in moral science at Girton College and activist for women's rights. "I have never gotten a character that was so complex before. It was really nice to portray some anger and some sadness and think about how I would feel in those situations. She talks about choosing between love and knowledge and I had never really thought about that before. It was just really interesting to think about these things that these women had to deal with that I will never understand," Hundley said.

    Photo credit: Yasi Gohar

  • Maeve learns she must leave school to care for her siblings at home. Eroen, who played Maeve, has been involved in Archer's theater program since seventh grade. "Maeve goes to Cambridge on a scholarship because she is not wealthy enough to pay for college. After her mother dies she has to go home to take care of the family so she only gets to go to college for the first semester," Eroen said.

    Photo credit: Yasi Gohar

  • Mr. Banks teaches the students about the laws of motion with a bicycle. Sophomore Courtney Wernick played Mr. Banks, an extravagant science teacher who sacrificed his career to fight for women’s education. "The experience of Blue Stockings really gave me an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and into a role that I would never have thought of for myself. The whole experience was great for cast bonding and eye-opening to the hardships the women faced in 1896," Wernick said.

    Photo credit: Yasi Gohar

  • Mr. Banks asks the students to wear bloomers, or underwear, as seen above, for a hands-on lesson. Shira Goldstein, pictured second left, plays Maeve Sullivan in the second cast. "The family we built in 'Blue Stockings' was one of a kind. Each day I came into rehearsal and felt supported and loved by each of my castmates. It’s an experience I will never forget," Goldstein said.

    Photo credit: Yasi Gohar

  • Tess and Maeve wait for Mr. Banks' class to start. Senior Livia Blum, pictured left, played Tess Moffat, a curious college student at Girton College. Blum thought the Blue Stockings cast was extremely supportive. "It’s hard for me to capture how much I love the theater community in words. I loved getting so close with girls from younger grades than me with this show and I loved talking about how the show was still relevant to our lives, even though it took place so long ago. Blue Stockings really became a second family for me, and I wouldn’t have traded the hard work and late nights for anything," she said.

    Photo credit: Yasi Gohar

  • Will and Tess experience Mr. Banks' physics lesson about the laws of motion. Sophomore Chloe Richards played Radleigh, a board member at Trinity College, believes that the "Archer theater community is such a supportive group. At the end of the performance, everything really came together."

    Photo credit: Yasi Gohar

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It is 1896. Very few women are enrolled at Girton College, an all-women’s college in London. The suffrage movement is just emerging. And four women are fighting for education and self-determination.

From March 8-10, the upper school performed the play “Blue Stockings” at The Miles Playhouse. According to director Tracy Poverstein, the show tells the story of four women at Girton College as they try to gain the right to graduate in 1896 Britain.

Assistant director Madison Tyler believes that “as a senior, [her] experience working on this show has only deepened [her] appreciation for Archer and the education I’ve received thus far.”