Shame the Devil!

This highly anticipated Austin premiere offered an exciting one-woman show chronicling the life of actor/abolitionist Fanny Kemble. Famed Austin storyteller Bernadette Nason starred. Perfect for teens and adults.
January 2003

For her performance in Shame the Devil Bernadette Nason received nominations for both the Austin Critics’ Table Award: Best Actress and the B. Iden Payne Award: Outstanding Actress in a Play for Youth.

It is an October evening in 1850, Fanny Kemble bursts into her Manhattan parlor terrified and angry. Her former husband has published a scurrilous attack on her character. To defend herself, Fanny proceeds to tell her story, utilizing material from her constant intellectual companion, William Shakespeare. She takes us through her dazzling youthful career as a member of the great Kemble-Siddons theatrical family, her marriage to a prominent Philadelphia lawyer, and the appalling discovery that her husband is a slave owner. Fanny recreates for us her life on her husband’s Sea Island plantation. She visits the rice fields, calls at slave cabins, inspects the infirmary and she is galvanized into action. She agitated for fair work rules, nurses the sick and injured. She even teaches a slave to read – a serious crime. In a climactic revelation, she realizes that “the misery of the slave has a counterpart: The moral wretchedness of the master.” This play is based on writings of Fanny Kemble, especially her Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation 1838-1839, possibly the best eyewitness plantation account.

Read Robert Faires’s fantastic review of our show!