Go on a river bender with the all-female cast of Men on Boats at Main Street Theater

Photo: Pin Lim, Forest Photography | Courtesy of Main Street Theater

Head through the Grand Canyon with 10 male explorers—portrayed by 10 Houston actresses—in Jaclyn Backhaus compelling and thought-provoking Men on Boats at Main Street Theater through Sunday, March 11, 2018.

Ten explorers. Four boats. One Grand Canyon. Men on Boats is the mostly true history of an 1869 expedition, when a one-armed captain and a crew of loyal but zealous volunteers set out to chart the course of the Colorado River.

Oh, and all the explorers are played by women.

Men on Boats tells the story of Major John Wesley Powell’s actual expedition of the Grand Canyon in 1869. The play depicts the amazing journey of these 10 explorers with all its humor and wonder and danger and excitement.

The gender bending is not played for laughs and it’s not exactly stunt casting either. In 2018, it’s also lends itself to reflection on gender roles, and the way they inform and shape our society today.

It’s as though the playwright took history and tilted it just slightly by having the roles played by all women. Rather than being over the top, it’s really a pretty straightforward storytelling of the historical journey.

“It’s interesting for me to take that idea of male conquest, give it to someone who usually doesn’t have that right, and put that into the roles themselves,” said Backhaus. “It begs the question of what histories are we lacking.”

Photo: Pin Lim, Forest Photography | Courtesy of Main Street Theater

The Houston Production 

The show is directed by Philip Hays, who most recently directed Main Street Theater’s production of Love and Information by Caryl Churchill and appeared on stage in Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen during the 2016-17 season.

The 10 explorers are played by Andrea Boronell, Marissa Castillo, Rachel Dickson (Civil War Christmas), Patricia Duran (Love and Information), Caroline Donica, Candice D’Meza, Shannon Emerick (The Revolutionists), Mai Le, Lydia Meadows (What the Butler Saw), and Celeste Roberts (Copenhagen).

Photo: Pin Lim, Forest Photography | Courtesy of Main Street Theater

About Main Street Theater

Main Street Theater offers theatrical experiences for all ages. Founded in 1975, the company’s MainStage produces professional, intimate, literary plays for adults and operates under an Actors’ Equity Association union contract.

The company’s Theater for Youth program features plays based on children’s literature that are performed in-house and around Texas for families and school groups.

The theater operates out of its Times Boulevard location in Rice Village, and at The MATCH on Main Street in Midtown.

Men on Boats at Main Street Theater

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