Quote of the Day: The play you hold in your hands is an echo of an echo of an echo of an echo of an echo of an echo. Margaret Atwood

It took me a minute to find the quote of the day. How do you describe a play like The Hatmaker’s Wife? This marvelous play by Lauren Yee is part fable, part real life, part imagination, and all heart. I love everything that Ten Things Thousand Theater Company does. They take a play and make it more magical, and they bring it to the people in various locations like correctional facilities or women’s shelters, as well as public performances at places like The Loft, where I saw it. They design their sets in simple, movable parts that they can easily take on the road. Their costumes (designed by Sonya Berlovitz) are whimsical, creative, and flowing that help bring to life the characters who are portrayed by exceptional actors. They include live music with musicians and actors often grabbing an instrument while “off stage,” and sometimes on stage, depending on the play. The creators of The Hatmaker’s Wife, under the direction of Joel Sass, do all this and more. I sat captivated by the entire production. 

Kimberly Richardson and Jim Lichtscheidl in “The Hatmaker’s Wife” A Ten Thousand Things Theater production. Photo: Tom Wallace

Gabe (Clay Man Soo) and his girlfriend, The Voice (Michelle de Joya), are moving into an apartment together. While he is off doing his job and interacting with his family, she is setting up the apartment. She starts to hear voices, and a story appears to her from The Wall (played by Tyson Forbes). In the story, she learns about former residents of the apartment. Hetchman, the Hatmaker, (Jim Lichtscheidl) and is wife (Kimberly Richardson). His hats are magical, but he refuses to make one for his wife. When he wears his hat, he hears music and stories and feels inspired. She sees him as too absorbed in himself and making the age-old mistake of taking her for granted. She leaves. It takes him a while to even notice. In the meantime, his neighbor Meckel (Pedro Bayon) comes over and asks him what he’s doing. Where is your wife? What’s going on? 

All of the action takes place within feet of the audience. Ten Thousand Things sets up their stage in the round (actually a square), where the audience is very close to the action and can see other audience members reacting to what’s happening. They use minimal set (designed by Joel Sass), carrying on and off props. Scene changes happen with sound effects, a slight change of costume, or how the characters interact with each other. Help with these quick changes by Stage Manager Matthew Meeks. Katherine Fried played music and sound effects while various members of the cast picked up instruments as needed. The entire production is very engaging.

Jim Lichtscheidl as Hetchman, the Hatmaker, in The Hatmaker’s Wife by Ten Thousand Things Theater Company. Photo: Tom Wallace

There are so many surprises, funny lines and actions, as well as thought-provoking moments in this play. I can see why they chose to produce it and to bring it to people who might not otherwise get a chance to see a professional acting company. It’s one of my favorite plays done by Ten Thousand Things Theater. Hats off to the entire cast and crew! You can see this production through March 17, 2024 at various locations. Go to Ten Thousand Things Theater for more information on when and where they perform.

Go. Create. Inspire!

Journaling Prompt: If the walls of your home (or childhood home) could talk, what might they say?