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Charm

Summary

Running time: 90 min | Actors: (8)

A transcendentally goofy play about an extraordinary woman, the American writer and feminist, Margaret Fuller. Set in an imagined America of the 1840’s, it portrays the emotional journey Margaret Fuller makes in her relationships with the iconic writers, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Cahill supposes what also must have been true—that Fuller had to fight to be taken seriously in a world that expected women to mind their manners but nothing more than that … but she also finds in Fuller a woman not content to live a constricted, 19th-century-womanly life, and she has made of her a heroine for our still conflicted times. Not that this is cutesy, lightweight material, mind you. That is what makes Charm work so well. Rather than a staid, by-the-book period biography, Cahill’s script is full of whimsy, self-conscious wink-nudge humor and clever anachronisms, and generally is vibrating with fun. Even in its darkest moments, Charm goes for laughs while maintaining integrity.

—Elizabeth Maupin, independent theatre critic

Sharply and humorously written…unusual and entertaining supporting characters….blissful production of Charm…combined fact and imagination, playwright Kathleen Cahill’s interpretation and the believable performances are aptly quirky, at times outrageous and, of course, charming. Charm is an endearing tribute to Margaret Fuller, a brilliant, outspoken woman of her time, and whether you’re man or woman you’ll walk away from this show with an incredible respect for her.

—Tony Hobday, Salt Lake Magazine

Kathleen Cahill’s new play about proto-feminist and transcendentalist Margaret Fuller (Cheryl Gaysunas), in a world-premiere run at Salt Lake Acting Company, is aptly titled. The entire production is so darned endearing that you just want to put it in your pocket and give all the characters a big hug.

—Rob Tennant, Salt Lake City Weekly

Salt Lake Acting Company’s Charm transported me into the world of America’s most famous transcendentalists—Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Nathaniel Hawthorne—but I found a world quite different from what I had expected…enjoyable and thought-provoking… Through my laughter, I felt closer to many of the authors I already loved, and I felt a new appreciation for the freedoms I have as a woman.

—Julia Shumway, Utah Theate Bloggers (2010)

Kathleen Cahill’s script is one not to be missed. Her interpretation of Margaret Fuller is applicable today—indeed, many of her dating jokes hit close to home. (My very favorite joke was, “My father taught me Latin. It turns out to be a form of birth control.”) I felt her frustration every time someone went out of his way to restrict Fuller and put her in her place. And I was inspired by her strength every time she stepped right back out of “her place” and pursued her dreams undaunted. Charm provides more than a pleasant evening to forget about upon leaving the theater. In addition to being a delightful way to spend a few hours, Charm reminds the audience to live deeply and to find joy in the world around them.

—Julia Shumway, Utah Theate Bloggers (2010)