Albany’s Harbinger Theatre presents ‘Mrs. Packard’ by Emily Mann

As the year draws to a close, Harbinger Theatre continues its streak of premieres in the Capital Region with “Mrs. Packard” by Emily Mann. Following the success of previous debuts like “Custom Cuts” by Brian Sheldon, this marks the 11th consecutive new production from their theater.

“Mrs. Packard” is a play written by Emily Mann that premiered in 2007. It’s based on the true story of Elizabeth Packard, a 19th-century woman who was involuntarily committed to an insane asylum by her husband after she disagreed with his religious beliefs and questioned his authority. The play explores themes of gender inequality, power dynamics within marriage, and the struggle for women’s rights and autonomy during that era.

Photo by David Quiñones Jr. | Kathleen Carey, Robin Leary & Cindy Campbell

In “Mrs. Packard,” the central character, Elizabeth Packard, to be played by Kathleen Carey, is a strong-willed and resilient woman fighting against societal constraints and her husband’s attempts to silence her. Her husband, Theophilus Packard, to be played by Richard Michael Roe, is portrayed as controlling and authoritarian, representing the oppressive attitudes towards women in the 19th century. Other characters include doctors, asylum staff, and individuals who either support or challenge Elizabeth’s plight, highlighting the societal norms and conflicts surrounding women’s rights and mental health treatment during that time.

“It didn’t seem possible to not have heard about this inspiring and resilient woman who, during the Civil war era, was committed to an asylum just because she disagreed with her husband. It not only made me ashamed but enraged me as well,” Foster said. 

Featuring their most extensive cast to date, the lineup includes Monet Thompson-Young, Cindy Campbell, Victoria Vine, John Quinan, Sara Paupini, Jean Carney, Tiffany McWilliams, Jennie Sinnott, Michael Schaefer, Robin Leary, John Scala, JJ Paul, Michael Gialanella, and Kerry Kazmierowicztrimm.

“Mrs. Packard,” directed by Chris Foster, features a dedicated team. Stage manager Lauren D’Annibale oversees execution, supported by Nicky Lightz’s lighting design and Joshua Horowitz’s sound design, which set the play’s atmosphere. Costume designer Beth Ruman contributes to the authenticity of the production. Together, they play a role in presenting “Mrs. Packard.”

Join Harbinger for “Ladies Night” on December 9th, hosted by Laura Graver. Each woman attending will be entered into a raffle for prizes, as well as enjoy favors and treats exclusively on this showing.

Experience “Mrs. Packard” during its run from Thursday to Saturday nights, spanning from December 7th to December 16th at Albany Barn. Tickets are priced at $15, but join us for a complimentary preview on December 6th at 7:30 PM. Additionally, engage in Friday Night Talkbacks on December 8th and 15th. Tickets can be purchased at the door, available for both cash and Venmo transactions.

Tickets can also be purchased on the Harbinger’s Eventbrite.

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