PORTSMOUTH – The New Hampshire Theatre Project’s 30th anniversary season continues with "Charm" by Kathleen Cahill which opens Friday, March 15 and runs through March 31. Full of grace, hilarity and magical realism, "Charm" brings to life the story of the brilliant but unknown Transcendentalist Margaret Fuller, the confidante of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry David Thoreau.

Thanks to the Travelling Masters program of the Dramatists Guild Foundation, playwright Kathleen Cahill will be in residence with New Hampshire Theatre Project during opening weekend March 15-17. Traveling Masters is a national education program providing students, professionals, and theatre lovers with free master classes and workshops on the craft of writing.

Sarah Margaret Fuller Ossoli (May 23, 1810 to July 19, 1850) was an American journalist, editor, critic, and women's rights advocate associated with the American transcendentalism movement. She became the first editor of the transcendentalist journal The Dial in 1840, before joining the staff of the New York Tribune.

By the time she was in her 30s, Fuller had earned a reputation as “ the best-read person in New England, male or female”, and became the first woman allowed to use the library at Harvard College. Her seminal work, Woman in the Nineteenth Century, was published in 1845 and is considered the first major feminist work in the United States.

A year later, she was sent to Europe for the Tribune, to cover the Italian Revolution, as its first female correspondent. She had a relationship with Giovanni Ossoli, with whom she had a child. All three members of the family died in a shipwreck off Fire Island, New York, as they were traveling to the United States in 1850. Fuller's body was never recovered.

In the late 1930s, Fuller began hosting Conversations; these were intimate gatherings that allowed women to debate subjects including the fine arts, history, mythology, literature, and nature. Fuller planned to answer the "great questions" facing women, asking her participants "What were we born to do, and how shall we do it?” She worked to find the same intellectual companionship with her female peers that she had experienced with Emerson and Thoreau.

Colleen A. Madden will return to the NHTP stage as Margaret Fuller, along with cast members Shawn Crapo, Mary Langley, CJ Lewis, Brian Paul, Matthew Recine and Eric Schildge. The production team, along with director Catherine Stewart, includes lighting design by Meghann Beauchamp, costume design by Fran Bechtold, and stage management by Robin Fowler. "Charm" is sponsored by JCM Management Company.

Cahill will be providing three programs while at New Hampshire Theatre Project including a co-working session in partnership with Feminist Oasis on Friday March 15 from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (tickets available at https://feministoasis.com/), and a free writing workshop for ages 14-25 in collaboration with Arts in Reach on Saturday, March 16 from 10 a.m. to noon, which is free and open to all teens. Cahill will also be launching NHTP’s Conversations, a series of post-show discussions which will be presented after each performance.

NHTP will continue the post-show discussions after each performance of "Charm." Topics will cover the themes of the play, the legacy of the transcendentalists, and the work of Fuller. Kathleen Cahill will join us for the first of these Conversations on opening night, March 15. On Fridays, March 22 and 29, director Catherine Stewart will be joined by Gwendolyn Smith, the Regional Site Manager for Historic New England. Smith holds a B.A. in Art History from Smith College, an M.A. in Museum Studies from Harvard University, and is a 2013 Attingham Trust Summer School scholar. She has a lifelong passion for the Transcendentalists, and the work of Margaret Fuller. Cast and crew will also be present at each post-show discussion.

Go & Do

What: New Hampshire Theatre Project presents "Charm"

When: March 15 to 31; Fridays and Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m.

Where: West End Studio Theatre, 959 Islington St., Portsmouth

Tickets: $30, general admission; $26, seniors and students, available at  nhtheatreproject.org

More info: Call (603) 431-6644 ext. 5 or email: reservations@nhtheatreproject.org