Presenting a Diverse Look at History


Men on Boats,  a comic adventure tale about an actual 1869 expedition to chart the Colorado River, brought thrillingly to life by a diverse non-male cast, is the work of Brooklyn resident Jaclyn Backhaus, who stipulates that, while the characters in the play were historically cisgender white males, the cast should be made up entirely of people who are not.


“I am talking about racially diverse actors who are female-identifying, trans-identifying, genderfluid, and/or non-gender-conforming,” notes the playwright in the script.


The result is a hilarious historical pageant that offers both a provocative and contemporary lens through which to view our shared past.


Somerville resident Dawn M. Simmons will direct SpeakEasy’s Boston Premiere production of Men on Boats.  To go on this journey with her, Ms. Simmons has assembled a talented crew of Boston-based actors:  Lyndsay Allyn Cox, Ally Dawson, Veronika Duerr, Bridgette Hayes, Alice Kabia, Mal Malme, Cody Sloan, Robin Javonne Smith, Hayley Spivey, and Ellie van Amerongen.  The all-female design team is Jenna McFarland (scenic); Rachel Padula-Shufelt (costumes); Daisy Long (lighting); and Elizabeth Cahill (sound).  Samantha Layco is the Production Stage Manager. Simmons will be assisted by Sloth Levine.


Men on Boats will run for five weeks, from September 8 through October 7, in the Roberts Studio Theatre in the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts. Ticket prices start at $25, with discounts for students, seniors, and persons aged 25 and under. For tickets or more information, call the box office at 617.933.8600 or visit