Patricia Norcia, David Kaplan and Edwin W. Schloss at a recording session for The World of Ruth Draper, the compact disk of  Draper monologues released in 2000.
Patricia Norcia, David Kaplan and Edwin W. Schloss at a recording session for The World of Ruth Draper, the compact disk of Draper monologues released in 2000. Photo by T.L. Boston

In 1978, Patricia Norcia was a student at the Yale Drama School when a professor, who had been a stage manager for Ruth Draper, suggested that Ms. Norcia perform The Italian Lesson. As preparation , she read many of the Draper monologues and discovered In a Church in Italy which seemed ideal (like Ms. Draper, Ms. Norcia speaks several languages). She performed the piece in a shortened version at the Yale Cabaret that year.

In 1979, Ms. Norcia teamed up with director David Kaplan to explore more of the material. For three years, they rehearsed Draper monologues every morning until Ms. Norcia had developed a six hour repertoire. During that period, the monologues were tried out at the Chelsea Westside Theatre for unadvertised sold-out performances, at the Berkshire Theatre Festival and a return to Yale.

In 1982, Edwin W. Schloss, William Bixby, Mr. Kaplan and Ms. Norcia formed a production company to present Ms. Draper’s material for a three month run at New York’s Cherry Lane Theatre. Since that time Ms. Norcia has performed the monologues throughout the US, Japan, England, Germany and Italy.

In 1986, in commemoration of Ruth Draper’s centennial, performances at Smith and Hamilton Colleges were introduced by William Draper Carter’s reminiscences of his beloved Aunt Ruth. In December of of that year, Ms. Norcia had the honor of performing at the centennial celebration of Ruth Draper’s birth. The event was hosted by Ruth Draper’s biographer, Dorothy Warren and attended by Draper family members, friends and admirers.

Today, Ms. Norcia performs thirteen of the Draper monologues (which she still rehearses with David Kaplan): The Italian Lesson, In a Church in Italy, Four Imaginary Folk Songs, A Class in Greek Poise, A Scottish Immigrant at Ellis Island, The Actress, A Children’s Party in Philadelphia, At the Court of Philip IV (in Spanish), The French Dressmaker, A Southern Girl at a Dance, Doctors and Diets, and the extraordinary Three Women and Mr. Clifford.

The compact disk can be ordered through this website. Order now!

David Kaplan works as a stage director and designer in America, Europe and Asia. He recently staged King Lear in Tashkent. He has directed new productions – in the native language – of Auntie Mame (in Russia), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Central Asian Buryatia) and Jean Genet’s The Maids (Mongolia). His previously staged work continues to be performed in repertory: Tale of the Dog, in Japan and Canada; Suddenly Last Summer and Macbeth in Samara, Russia. Mr. Kaplan has directed The Maids in New York and productions of The Cherry Orchard, Gertrude Stein’s Dr. Faustus and The Circus of Dr. Lao in Los Angeles.

Edwin W, Schloss, a native New Yorker, is one of the producers of Kiss Me Kate, currently on Broadway. A graduate of North Carolina School of the Arts, he has invested in Gypsy, Travesties, Frankie & Johnny in the Claire de Lune, and the recent revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. He has presented Elizabeth Welch in Concert at off-Broadway’s Lucille Lortel Theatre for which he received the Outer Critics’ Circle Award. He co-produced the Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production of Sam Shepard’s Buried Child for Broadway and, as an associate producer, transferred the Manhattan Theatre Club’s highly acclaimed Full Gallop (starring Mary Louise Wilson as the indomitable Diana Vreeland) to off-Broaday. Mr. Schloss resides in Connecticut with his wife Maureen and their two daughters, Katie and Emily.