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Boston Marriage

Boston Marriage

By David Mamet

Directed by Karla Hartley

Feb. 21 – Mar. 9, 2008

Thu. – Sat. 8pm, Sun. 4pm

Tickets: $24.50

Shimberg Playhouse, Straz Center for the Performing Arts

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What It's About

Anna and Claire are two bantering, scheming “women of fashion” who have long lived together in a lesbian relationship on the fringes of upper-class society. As the play opens, we see their “Boston marriage” on the edge of disintegration. Anna has just become the mistress of a wealthy man, from whom she has received an enormous emerald and an income to match. Claire, meanwhile, is infatuated with a respectable young lady and wants to enlist the jealous Anna’s help for an assignation. As the two women exchange barbs and take turns taunting the Irish maid, Claire’s young inamorata appears, setting off a crisis that puts both the emerald and the women’s futures at risk. To this wickedly funny comedy, Mamet brings his trademark tart dialogue and impeccable plotting, spiced with Wildean wit.

A “Boston marriage” by definition refers to a romantic friendship during the Victorian era between two unmarried women in long-term union sharing a household. This relationship offered women of a certain class a socially acceptable alternative to traditional marriage. The term “Boston marriage” came to be used after Henry James’ book The Bostonians (1886) which detailed a marriage-like relationship between two women.

Jobsite produced Mamet’s American Buffalo in 2003 to great success. Mamet is widely-known for the strength of his male roles set in modern, often gritty, contexts and has been often criticized over the years for not writing very strong parts for women. Boston Marriage in many ways is a response to those criticisms, showing not only he can write for women, but that he can tackle a period piece as well as anyone.

Age Recommendation

16+ Contains adult situations.

(L-R) Katrina Stevenson, Allison Burns and Emilia Sargent in Jobsite's Boston Marriage. (Photo by Brian Smallheer.)

Devastatingly funny... exceptionally clever... demonstrates anew [Mamet's] technical virtuosity and flexibility. – New York Times

One of Mamet's most satisfying and accomplished plays, and one of the funniest American comedies in years. – New York Post

Critic Reviews

In the fine production by Tampa's Jobsite Theater, there's topnotch acting, sharp directing, some moments of real humor ... The Jobsite cast is quite marvelous ... Karla Hartley's direction is sure-handed ... This is as professional-looking a production as any you'll find in the area. – Creative Loafing

Boston Marriage is a twisted tale of two women skirting respectability and the subversive, and Jobsite['s] production nails it ... Stevenson and Sargent deliver Mamet's tongue-twisting lines like the surest Shakespearean actors. Burns is a riot as the maid ... – Tampa Tribune


Cast & Crew

  • Karla Hartley – Director
  • Xylina Golding – Stage Manager


  • Alison Burns – Maid
  • Emilia Sargent – Claire
  • Katrina Stevenson – Anna


  • Lori Shannon – Assistant Director
  • Scott Cooper – Scenic Designer
  • Karla Hartley – Lighting Designer
  • Katrina Stevenson – Costume Designer

Patron Reviews

We loved it! – Amy Mandel

I saw the show last night. It was one of your best, which I pretty much say after every show. I would highly recommend it to others, and have. – Deborah Kobritz

Boston Marriage is the most audibly satisfying piece I’ve seen Jobsite produce. These three ladies are so fun to watch! Katrina is biting and equally likable in her few moments of vulnerability. Emilia is terse and a fantastic addition to the Jobsite family. Alison is such a pro – she was exceptional. Congratulations, Karla! If you haven’t yet, go see this show!! – David Valdez

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