“Third” by Wendy Wasserstein

May 22, 2016

sydney-walsh-picturesRegarding the late Pulitzer Prize-winning Wendy Wasserstein’s last play Third, which was written shortly before her death in 2005, Mark Favermann at Berkshire Fine Arts writes, “It is among her wittiest, wisest, and perhaps most personal play.”

Favermann continues…

Set at an unnamed, elite, New England liberal arts college, this play’s central character, Professor Laurie Jameson, could be considered one in the line of Wasserstein’s “uncommon women” of middle age. Perhaps she is smugly more certain of her ideas than many of the playwright’s other previous major female characters. Laurie Jameson is tediously ultra-liberal.

Professor Jameson is a revered, mid-fifties, menopausal professor. She is a pioneer in her field, the first tenured, female professor at the college. Her seemingly well-ordered life and career slowly become unhinged when she meets Woodson Bull, III. His friends and family call him “Third.” An articulate, and perhaps conservative, student/athlete, Third is a wrestler who, metaphorically, also wrestles with Professor Jameson intellectually and morally. She and Third face off in a series of verbal confrontations over politics, ethics, and Shakespeare.

The premise of the play is that long-held even cherished ideas can be questionable. Despite our own feelings, the world changes and may not fit what we thought or even what we were before. Ideas are rarely painted in simple black and white. Wasserstein reveals that academics’ notions of their role as educators and molders of minds may, if handled badly, affect their students in unknown and consequential ways. However, all is not gloom and doom. As the drama unfolds there are a lot of great one-liners that keep the audience chuckling. Wasserstein wrote very strong comedy as well.
—”Third, the Final Play by Wendy Wasserstein” by Mark Favermann, January 17, 2008 at

Third may be seen at the South Pasadena Theatre Workshop through May 29. Only three more performances remain.

Our job is to examine human experience and to experiment—to hold a mirror up to the world and to say “this is who we are”– but “what if” we were this instead—or “what if” we were that… Let’s see what happens if we play, if we explore. I believe that the art of acting is essential to our health, to our wellbeing and to our imaginations… that playfulness is the key to all great endeavors.
Third director Sydney Walsh


Third by Wendy Wasserstein
Friday-Sunday, May 27th-29th, 5 p.m. or 8 p.m.
South Pasadena Theatre Workshop
Tickets: $20
For complete details, visit


South Pasadena Theatre Workshop:
Sally Smythe and Stephen Godwin began their professional careers at The Oregon Shakespeare Festival and were invited to join the companies of Berkeley Rep and The American Conservatory Theatre and over the next thirty years they continued to work with west coast regional theatres including Intiman, New City, Seattle Rep, The Old Globe, The Fifth Avenue, South Coast Rep, Pacific Resident Theatre and many more. They have collaborated as parents and as partners and their experiences in the theatre and in life have inspired them to create a harbor and lab where great texts are worked on and new ones inspired. (Official text)


SPTW offers scene study, original monologues and inner work, work & play, and physical life classes. Visit





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