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UC Irvine drama program to present “Mrs. Packard,” portraying 19th century women’s rights advocate

UC Irvine’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts Department of Drama will present “Mrs. Packard” starting Saturday, Feb. 3, portraying the life of an early advocate for the rights of women and the mentally ill.
In 1860, Rev. Theophilus Packard had his wife, Elizabeth, removed from their house and consigned to an insane asylum because of her liberal beliefs on issues such as religion, family and slavery. A doctor made it clear she had to accept husband’s beliefs to be freed.
“There is much in this story that resonates with today’s current sociopolitical climate, including an examination of the personal risk and potential fallout incurred by victims of injustice when they decide to speak truth to power,” a news release states.
Melissa Livingston, a third-year Master of Fine Arts in Directing candidate, directs the play.
“I recently drove our country coast-to-coast alone,” she said in the release, “and as I visited countless museums and historical sites and experienced this country in a wonderful new way, it struck me how few stories were told about women. In a time when she had no legal rights, Elizabeth Packard was a woman who refused to be silenced. She demanded liberty on her own terms.”
With whitewashed walls and soaring cathedral windows, the look of the production reflects the coldness and isolation the heroine feels, the release said.
The production team will host a post-performance TalkBack on Sunday, Feb. 4, after the 2 p.m. matinee with the creative team and cast.

If you go
When: 8 p.m. Feb. 3, 8, 9 and 10; 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7; and 2 p.m. Feb. 4, 10 and 11
Where: Claire Trevor Theatre; parking at 4000 Mesa Road, Irvine
Cost: General admission $18; seniors and groups 10 or more $15; UCI students and children under 17 $11
Information: 949-824-2787 or
Source: Oc Register

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