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COUNTING DAYS
Katherine Mansfield, a writer from the 1920s, mesmerized readers with her glamorous life and crystalline writing; Mary Kniesen, a contemporary, divorced empty-nester, becomes obsessed with Mansfield's Journals. COUNTING DAYS, a comic-drama, juxtaposes these two women: Mary (MK), lost and structureless and Mansfield (KM), fiercely focused as she faced an early death from TB. Snatches of Mansfield's Journals punctuate Mary's flounderings until the spirit of Mansfield "appears" to aid Mary on her journey of self-discovery.

Premiering in Milwaukee, the play elicited marked critical response, a nomination for the American Theatre Critics Association’s "Best New Regional Play" Award and dozens of letters from audience members who recognized themselves in Mary's dilemma.




Can books be an aid in a spiritual journey—or do they become yet another form of escape? Can the search for one's own voice fill the void we sometimes find ourselves in?

These are the questions that Katherine Mansfield poses to Mary Kniesen—which, by play's end, help her begin to embrace her own bittersweet experiences in life and take the first steps towards acting for herself.

SET AND CAST
COUNTING DAYS calls for four actors (three women and one man) and has simple technical demands—an evocative, simply designed, unit set and costumes for some multiple roles.

The play runs about 1 1/2 hours.


PRODUCTION HISTORY
Developed over several years with Wes Savick as workshop director, COUNTING DAYS was produced by Renaissance Theaterworks in Milwaukee in 1995, directed by Norma Saldivar, to strong audience and critical response. The production triggered the play's nomination for the American Theatre Critics Association's Best New Regional Play Award for 1995. It was a finalist in the Charlotte Repertory Theatre's 1995 New Play Festival and was presented as part of Madison Repertory Theatre's "Page to Stage" new play reading series. Chicago Dramatists Workshop selected it for presentation in its Saturday Series readings. It received showcase readings at Victory Gardens in 1997 and at a workshop at American Theater Company in 2001 in Chicago.

  • Production: Renaissance Theaterworks, Milwaukee, 1995
  • Workshop: Renaissance Theaterworks, Milwaukee, 1993-1995
  • Staged Readings: Madison Repertory Theatre, 1996; Chicago Dramatists Guild, 1997; Victory Gardens Theater, 1997; American Theater Co., 2001; TCG Conference, 2002

Video clip from Renaissance Theaterworks production

AWARDS
Susan Smith Blackburn Prize - Nominee 1995
Best New Regional Play - American Theatre Critics Association Nominee 1995
New Play Festival – Charlotte Repertory Theatre Finalist 1995




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