Bryony Lavery’s Her Aching Heart

The Nora Theatre Company produces Bryony Lavery’s Her Aching Heart

Lee Mikeska Gardner’s Boston Directorial Debut

July 10 – August 10, 2014

The Nora Theatre Company is proud to present Bryony Lavery’s Her Aching Heart. The production includes original music composed for this production by Veronica Barron. The piece will be the Boston directorial debut for Lee Mikeska Gardner who was appointed Artistic Director of The Nora Theatre Company in November 2013 following a national search.

Passion. Riding Crops. Nuns.

Harriet and Molly just happen to be reading the same pulpy romance novel – Her Aching Heart. Transported by their imaginations into the Victorian world of the trashy tale, they embody the willful aristocrat, haughty Harriet Hellstone and the sweetly pure country maiden Molly Penhallow. A bodice-ripping affair ensues, filled with imaginatively absurd characters, swept up by passion and romance of historic proportions. With two actresses portraying every character – including the men who long for them – Bryony Lavery has crafted a satirical romantic potboiler, complete with songs and miracles, spoofing gender clichés and stereotypes with hysterical results.

Tickets for Her Aching Heart start at $15 and are currently on sale at or by calling 866.811.4111.

Her Aching Heart is the first production selected for Lee Mikeska Gardner’s inaugural season as Artistic Director of The Nora Theatre Company. However, this is not Ms. Gardner’s first experience with this play. In 1993 her company Consenting Adults performed Her Aching Heart in Washington D.C. and later brought it to Boston’s Out on the Edge festival.

About Bryony Lavery

Bryony Lavery (playwright) Plays include Helen And Her Friends (1978); Bag (1979); Family Album (1980); Missing (1981); Calamity (1983); Origin Of The Species (1984); Witchcraze (1985); Her Aching Heart (Pink Paper Play Of The Year 1992);Wicked (1990); Kitchen Matters (1990); Flight (1991); Nothing Compares To You (1995); Ophelia (1996) and A Wedding Story (2000). Her play Frozen, commissioned by Birmingham Rep, won the TMA Best Play Award, the Eileen Anderson Central Television Award, was produced on Broadway where it was nominated for 4 Tony awards. Bryony is an honorary Doctor Of Arts at De Montford University. She was a director with John Retallack, of Performing Arts Labs Playwrighting, and has been a tutor on Birmingham University’s MA Playwrighting course. Bryony was an artistic director of Gay Sweatshop and of her own company, Les Oeufs Malades, and for two years she was writer in residence for The Unicorn Theatre for Children.

About Composer Veronica Barron

Veronica Barron (Composer & Vocal Arranger) is a Boston-based performer and maker of theatre that is collaborative, choreographic, and music-based. Her recent work includes composing and performing new music for Whistler in the Dark’s Vinegar Tom, lauded as “magnificent” by Boston’s WGBH; performing as a dancer in the butoh-based UnAccountable Fog with CHIMERAlab Dance Theatre, presented at the New Orleans Fringe Festival; and collaborating with Aimee Rose Ranger to create and perform Winning Higgins’s Love: A Clown Tragedy. Veronica holds a BFA in theater arts from Boston University, where her studies included collaborative playmaking, a physical approach to acting, and classical Indian

About Director Lee Mikeska Gardner

Lee Mikeska Gardner (Director; Artistic Director, The Nora Theatre Company) has an extensive background in the theatre arts, education and administration, primarily in the Washington, D.C. region. Her work ranges from plays in development to the classics. She has helmed over twenty world premieres, three of which earned nominations for the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play. Overall, her productions have received twenty-five Helen Hayes nominations. An Artistic Associate for ten years at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Lee directed After Ashley (Helen Hayes nomination for Outstanding Direction); Fat Men In Skirts; Life During Wartime (Helen Hayes nomination for Outstanding Direction); Goodnight, Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet (Helen Hayes nomination for Outstanding Direction); Doug Wright’s Watbanaland; The Chinese Art of PlacementThe Gene Pool (world premiere); Stop Kiss and Fuddy Meers. As an Associate Artist with 1st Stage Lee directed Blithe Spirit; The How and The Why; Humble Boy and Fuddy Meers. Lee served as the Managing Director for Washington Shakespeare Company for five years and for them directed the world premieres of Caesar and Dada and Learning Curves (both by long-time collaborator Allyson Currin); EquusA Midsummer’s Nights Dream (with 7 actors,) and Deathwatch, a co-production with Actors’ Theatre of Washington, with whom she directed the all-male Dangerous Liaisons.  Other favorite directing projects includeAcross the Wide and Lonesome Prairie at The Kennedy Center, Angels in America and Peristroika at Washington, D.C.’s Signature Theatre, T.S. Eliot’s The Cocktail Party for the Washington Stage Guild (Theatre Lobby Award,) Bad Dates at the Olney Theatre Center, Golden Boy and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with the Keegan Theatre (Artistic Associate), The Butterfingers Angel…, Thom Pain (Based on Nothing,) Stones In His Pockets and Three Tall Women at Rep Stage, where Lee also served as Managing Director for two years. As a performer Lee has earned a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lead Actress for the role of Mary in A House in the Country with Charter Theatre, and 4 additional nominations: Carla in A Taste of Fire (Charter Theatre);Terry in Sideman (1st Stage);Patricia Preece in Stanley (Potomac Theatre Project)and Kimberly Bergalis in Patiant A (Freedom Stage.) Other favorite roles include Clare in Tennessee Williams’s The Two-Character Play at Spooky Action Theatre, Gertrude in Hamlet , Luisa in A Shayna Maidel (Best Actress, Baltimore City Paper) at Rep Stage and Hettie in Julie Jensen’s Two Headed, (Washington Shakespeare Company and Mill Mountain Theatre.) Lee spent seven years as Associate Artistic Director with the Shenandoah Playwrights’ Retreat working on plays in development with such varied playwrights as Julie Jensen, Sean Clark, Peter Coy, Kia Corthron, Karim Alrawi, Hoang To Mai, Dana Yeaton, Tat Ming Cheung, Motti Lerner, Heather McDonald, John Walch, Christopher Stezin and Jerome Hairston.  She also works closely with emerging playwrights at The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival as an actor, director and mentor. Lee has taught or served as a Guest Artist at institutes of higher learning around the country and founded the Acting Classes at Woolly Mammoth and Washington Shakespeare Company. Lee has a B.F.A. in the Performing Arts from George Mason University and an M.F.A. in Acting from The Catholic University of America.

Mary Bichner (Music Director/Arranger) Compositions and arrangements have appeared on MTV, CBS, and ABC. She was the recipient of a Somerville Arts Council Grant in January 2014. She was awarded Best Musical Score at the 2014 San Diego Film Awards for composing the score of the short film Just Desserts and named Somerville Artist of the Month in March 2014. Mary has perfect pitch and synesthesia.

About the Cast of HER ACHING HEART

Lynn R. Guerra (Harriet) makes her CST debut. Previous productions include Lovers’ Quarrels (Imaginary Beasts), Neighborhood Watch (Zeitgeist Stage), the staged reading of Protocol by Peter Floyd (New Voices at New Rep), The Recruiting Officer(Whistler in the Dark), Blood Rose Rising (Honest Ghost Prod.), The Play About the Baby (Exquisite Corps), Shakespeare On Love (Commonweath Shakes.), and Lieutenant of Inishmore (IRNE nomination, Best Supporting Actress, New Rep).  She was also a principal dancer with Terpsichora Co. de Danse.

Aimee Rose Ranger (Molly) makes her CST debut. Previous roles include Minnie Minoseczeck in Icarus (Liars And Believers), Tales from Ovid (Whistler in the Dark and ArtsEmerson), and Val in Fen (Whistler in the Dark). She is the co-host ofEncyclopedia Show Somerville at the Davis Square Theatre and host of SOOP: Stories of Our People, a storytelling show. She was the winner of Fringe Wars with Veronica Barron for their original clown tragedy, Winning Higgins’s Love. When she’s not on the theatrical stage, she can be seen on other stages around town doing stand up comedy.

The creative team for HER ACHING HEART includes Fight Choreography by Danielle Pointe-Tezana, Scenic Designer Steven Royal, Costume Designer Leslie Held, Lighting Designer John R. Malinowski, and Sound Designer Ben EmersonDominique D. Burford is the production Stage Manager, and Jenna Clark is the Assistant Stage Manager.

HER ACHING HEART plays at Central Square Theater, 450 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, Thursday, July 10 through Sunday, August 10, 2014. Performances are Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30PM, Fridays at 8PM, Saturdays at 3PM and 8PM, and Sundays at 2PM. Tickets may be purchased by calling (866) 811-4111, at the Central Square Theater box office, or online at For box office hours, group discounts, and more information call (617) 576-9278 x210.

Central Square Theater (CST) opened in 2008 through a groundbreaking partnership between The Nora Theatre Company (The Nora) and Underground Railway Theater (URT). This collaboration has been called a model for the arts community (The Boston Foundation, Culture is our Commonwealth, and The National Collaboration Prize), as it has paired two like-minded performing arts organizations in a strategic alliance with the City of Cambridge and MIT, resulting in the development of a state-of-the-art performing arts center in the heart of Central Square. CST has a mission to support its two theaters-in-residence while maintaining a shared vision of artists and audiences creating theater vital to their communities. The Nora and URT have a combined track record of over 50 years producing award-winning theater. Located in Central Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and steeped in its multiracial, intergenerational, ethnically and economically diverse neighborhoods, the CST theater experience exudes a democratic energy where classes, races and age groups come together to be inspired, entertained and energized.

Share the post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *