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“Breadcrumbs” Is a Moving Play About Mothers, Daughters, and the Moonlit Woods of the Past

A writer (Marcia Edmundson) encounters a witch (Chaunesti Webb) (photo by Edward Hunt)

Manbites Dog Theater will present the regional premiere of Breadcrumbs, an offbeat drama written by Los Angeles-based playwright Jennifer Haley and staged by Manbites Dog artistic director Jeff Storer, on Oct. 8, 9, 14-17, and 20-23 at its downtown theater in Durham, NC. Adapted from her 2005 play Gingerbreadhouse, which won Brown University’s Weston Award for Drama and Joelson Prize in Creative Writing, Jennifer Haley’s Breadcrumbs had its world premiere in July 2010 at the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown WV.

According to Manbites Dog Theater:

“A reclusive fiction writer [Marcia Edmundson as Alida] and a [disturbed] young woman [named Beth] share secrets of guilt, memory, and desire…. [The] writer, struggling to complete her last story, must depend on [this] lost young woman [Chaunesti Webb] for help. From the author of Neighborhood 3, [Breadcrumbs is] a moving new play about mothers, daughters, and the moonlit woods of the past.”

Playwright Jennifer Haley’s website adds, “Alida … is diagnosed with dementia and must depend upon Beth, a troubled young caretaker, to complete her autobiography. In a symbiotic battle of wills, the two delve into the dark woods of Alida’s past, unearthing a secret tragedy that shatters their notions of language, loneliness and essential self.”

In reviewing previous production of Breadcrumbs, Terry Ponick of The Washington Times wrote: “A human being, once pulsing with life, with spirit, with a treasury of feelings and memories, gradually loses them all while the body, the shell that contained them all, lives on like a horrible and tragic ghost. All this is the subject of Jennifer Haley’s moving drama, Breadcrumbs … [which is] an all-too-real, all-too-effective charting of an awful disease that takes a person and leaves the husk behind….”

Lorraine Treanor of DC Theatre Scene adds, “Alida’s mystery is revealed to us, but in the end, there is another, deeper mystery which is not. This is the equivalent of being served a lobster by a master chef, and then being given a steak to take home for later. It is an act of creative boldness, to be done only by a playwright in absolute command of her gifts, using artists in absolute command of their own.”

Manbites Dog Theater presents BREADCRUMBS at 8:15 p.m. Oct. 7 Preview, 8:15 p.m. Oct. 8 and 9 and 14-16, 3:15 p.m. Oct. 17, and 8:15 p.m. Oct. 20-23 at 703 Foster Ave., Durham, North Carolina 27701.

TICKETS: $12 weeknights and $17 Friday-Sunday ($8 students in advance and $2 discount for seniors 62+ and active-duty military personnel), except Oct. 7th pay-what-you-can preview (door sales only, $5 minimum) and $5 Student Rush Tickets (door sales only).

BOX OFFICE: 919/682-3343 or





The Play: (official website).

The Playwright: (official website).

Jeff Storer: Duke Theater Studies).


Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This review is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.

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