Current Student Anna Rebek ’20 Directs 'Mary V' for the NYC International Fringe Festival

BY Paola Alexandra Soto, October 12, 2018

Mary V poster“As a female director, this questioning of leadership has defined who I have become.”—Anna Rebek


Second-year directing student Anna Rebek ’20 directs Mary V Rebekah Carrow’s adaptation (with a feminist twist) of Shakespeare’s Henry V. Rebek teams up with second-year stage management student Taeuk Kang ’20 for the production which is part of the New York International Fringe Festival. The show runs from October 12 thru 28. 


“Rebekah came to me with an interesting question; what behaviors of men in power do we celebrate, and would we still celebrate them if a woman behaved the same way?” Recollects Rebek of how she came to become involved in this production. “Henry V is called a hero for winning a battle, and ‘getting the girl’ but was he a great leader for spying on his men and using their fears against them?” They wanted to be able to explore those questions. Part of the the process became about building the story together she explains that “we then went back to her script and completely remapped and restructured it around these central questions. Rebekah's rewrites were excellent.” The real challenge was in the staging of the show according to Rebek. How “to present leadership tactics through a male lens, and compare/contrast those next to a female leader.”


Mary V is a timely reflection on #metoo, women’s anger, and how we decide who gets to occupy public space. According to the playwright the story “uses the metaphor of war (us versus them) to investigate the gender binary and it’s relationship to power.” The play is about an all-female cast who is commissioned to perform Shakespeare’s Henry V, but when they arrive at the rehearsal space they have to fight with a traditionally male-dominated cast in order to put up their show. According to Broadway World, "[Mary V] explores ... how the division between femininity and masculinity can yield destruction for both sexes.” Mirroring the conflict at the heart of Shakespeare’s original story, the two casts battle for their version of the show. The playwright believes that “as our current climate becomes more and more polarized (between those who have power and those who don’t), it will benefit us to have a deeper conversation about the effects of violence both on the victim and perpetrator.”


“This is what I hope to accomplish with Mary V. The play can be dark but I think it’s an honest reflection on the trauma and anger that women and men are carrying.”—Rebekah Carrow


For information about performance dates and times for Mary V visit the New York International Fringe Festival