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.
16+ Contains adult situations.
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