By the Way, Meet Vera Stark - Wikipedia
By the Way, Meet Vera Stark is constructed as two one-act plays. . Bogdanovich , among others, talking about Vera's importance in film history. Her maid, Vera Stark played by Tambala Perry is her support system and she too is an actress. Sweetie Pie is white. Stark is Black. They are. I think this play is important, no matter the fact that the second act seems to not hold up as well as the first. By The Way, Meet Vera Stark is.
Theresa Harris played Barbara Stanwyck's maid. Who were these women who came to Hollywood with the same expectations as white women? They found that if they wanted to survive, they would put on the mask and be slaves and maids. Those weren't necessarily the roles they were hoping to perform when they arrived. The first, modeled after a 30s screwball comedy, shows various characters donning their masks for the sake at a shot at the movies—even Vera, who once swore she'd never put on a head rag to play a slave, even a slave with lines.
Tonight I crossed a bridge, and I'm telling you, I ain't going back! It's a burden to a Negro woman in this town. What has all my enviable talent given me?
By The Way, Meet Vera Stark at The Goodman Theatre | HuffPost
Mammy Jane, Josie, Bitsy, Petunia, and Addie, 40 years of characters who they didn't even bother to give last names. That's something to celebrate, honey!
She read for Crystal Allen, the lead role famously played in the movie by Joan Crawford. The director couldn't see her in the part. She was cast as the maid instead. They're a wider range than what would have been offered to Vera Stark. But has this always been the case? Or is this problem around the lack of roles something as old as Hollywood? The play takes place in Hollywood in three different eras: The first part of the play is beautiful, upbeat and enraptures the audience.
You will laugh, feel sad, and then laugh again due to such daring candor on the stage. Within the first act we meet Vera when she is the maid to a famous white actress, who is also a childhood friend, named Gloria Mitchell Kara Zediker.
Their relationship is a continual reminder throughout the play of the stark ways in which black and white actresses were -- and still to this day -- treated in Hollywood. Gloria is the 'darling' of the silver screen while Vera struggles to land roles that in the end seem to only perpetuate dangerous stereotypes about black people in America.
As we move onto the second act, the play seems to lose its footing as we are brought to a modern day symposium led by three academic folks who are analyzing the life and times of the fictional Vera Stark. By using 'found footage' of Vera on a s talk show, we are given the complicated and disheartening stories of what became of Vera, which includes poverty, depression and alcoholism.
In this act we learn that after her one big break in the fictional movie The Belle of New Orleans, Vera found herself constantly stuck to this one role, never able to break free of it. This leads her down the road to general anger about how Hollywood treated her and the demise of her career. I think this play is important, no matter the fact that the second act seems to not hold up as well as the first. By The Way, Meet Vera Stark is important because it unapologetically shows us that even though this story is set in the s, it is still the reality of so many black actresses to this day.
And even within this play, the lead actress herself cannot even escape this reality, because at the end of the day Tamberla Perry -- the actress who plays Vera -- is still playing a maid who becomes an actress who plays a maid.
By The Way, Meet Vera Stark at The Goodman Theatre
Sweetie Pie is white. They are both pretty and talented and racially defined. Vera wears her maid uniform and dreams bigger about her day on the big screen.
As the starlet, Gloria Mitchell, plans and entertains for a main role, Vera learns there is perhaps a role for her too. The new movie, The Belle of New Orleans also has a role for a "maid.
It's a big deal. The movie producers are making an authentic film about New Orleans. The white director and foreign studio owner address the images they want portrayed. They want happy slaves. The black "maids" auditioned for the roles as they serve and interact with the director and studio owner.
One of the ladies passes for Brazilian with her light skin and made up accent. She is far too light for the role.
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Roommate Lottie McBride steals the first scene. She plays to the stereotype absolutely from dialect to the role. Vera gets the role.
She is sassy and smart. She has her white apron tightened in the waist to show her hourglass figure as she moves about.