The date is 1967. The place is Steubenville, Ohio, where prolific Minneapolis playwright and screenwriter Jeffrey Hatcher grew up and created memories.
A brief excerpt from the favorite tome of namesake character Mrs. Mannerly appears in the …
This item is available in full to subscribers.
If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.
Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.
If you made a voluntary contribution in 2022-2023 of $50 or more, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.
A brief excerpt from the favorite tome of namesake character Mrs. Mannerly appears in the play's program:
“Manners are made up of trivialities of deportment which can easily be learned if one does not happen to know them: Manner is personality — the outward manifestation of one's innate character and attitude toward life … Etiquette must, if it is to be of more than trifling use, include ethics as well as manners. Certainly what one is, is of far greater importance than what one appears to be ...” — Chapter 1, 6-7, “Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics and at Home,” by Emily Post.
When the fun starts in “Mrs. Mannerly,” Master Jeffrey Hatcher, age 10, of Steubenville (Graham Ward in knee pants, bright yellow sweater and bow tie) appears for etiquette class with Mrs. Mannerly, Helen Anderson Kirk (played by skilled comic actress Leslie O'Carroll). Kirk has been teaching Steubenville children to be polite for 36 years in a space on the second floor of the YMCA. In all those years, no one has scored 100, she declares proudly.
Director Edith Weiss, a skilled theater veteran, has given us a polished, pleasing production that looks easy.
All the action takes place in this space, which holds a severe desk, six stools, a tea cart with its furnishings, a small table, books and miscellany. Dated-looking posters instruct on proper behavior.
Jeffrey, determined to score that elusive 100 percent, learns a bit about his teacher's past in Chicago and uses it to pressure her.
Ward also impersonates the other children in the class, giving each a distinctive spin. Eventually, they all are gone and it's only Jeffrey who performs in front of the annual Daughters of the American Revolution tea party group.
When a comedy like this is performed by true professionals, who are able roll off ridiculous lines and situations with ease, it makes for an entertaining evening that doesn't weigh one down with problems to still be resolved. Arvada Center is, as usual, spot on with the production values — set, lighting, sound, costumes. Count on 90 minutes of chuckles and perhaps a bit of nostalgia.
If you go
“Mrs. Mannerly” plays through Feb. 21 in the black box theater at the Arvada Center, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada. Performances: 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays; 1 p.m. Wednesdays, 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets: 720-898-7200, arvadacenter.org. Free parking.
Other items that may interest you
We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.