The Bernice Project
In 2017 I had the joy to direct and produce The Bernice Project which I wrote with my mother, Debbie Greivell. The Bernice Project is a play based on a family story. The play premiered at the Phoenix Theater in Minneapolis, MN as an Arts Nest Fledgling show.
The play revolves around Bernice, a single young mother in post World War II, rural Wisconsin 1946. Bernice is abandoned by her World War II soldier boyfriend, and the majority of her staunch Catholic family, who don’t want to be disgraced by being associated with an unwed pregnant woman. Bernice wants to keep her daughter so she alone has to come up with a plan to keep her baby. She jumps through many hoops in order to do this, such as working with the District Attorney, befriending a heroic lay nurse at the hospital who helps her formulate a plan, and eventually becomes a working single mother. During this time period, single mothers were not allowed to keep their babies if they wanted to, as it was considered unmoral. They were often forced to put their babies up for adoption against their will, and this was usually the only option.
As a director my concept focused on
-Woman vs. the Church and Woman vs. Society: these two themes are very prevalent in this play.
-Memories are Representations and Dark vs. Light. This theme is important because Bernice is choosing to tell the audience certain memories to tell her story.
Full Video of the Play Here:
The Bernice Project, premiere featured:
Tiffany Cornwell played Bernice
Brid Henry played Alice
Alyssa Brooke played Mavis
John Stark played Roman and Siegfried
Julie Ann Greif played Lauretta and Sister Francis
Tamara Koltes played Eileen and Mrs. Schneider
Franklin Wagner played Will and Mr. Ottens
Robb Krueger played Peter, Father Beaver and Judge Martins
Zach Christensen played Perry, Mr. Schneider and the court secretary
Stage Management: Kasey Jo Gratz
Lighting Design: Jenna Papke
Sets: Eric Cohen
Choreography: Julie Ann Greif