Raven Dauda, left, and Bridget Ogundipe perform a scene from Intimate Apparel at the Neptune Theatre on Tuesday afternoon. The play premieres on Friday and runs until March 25 at Neptune's Fountain Hall.

A story about forbidden love through the eyes of a seamstress who makes lingerie for women in 1905 New York.

Need more convincing?

Intimate Apparel, a play by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage, premieres at Neptune Theatre’s Fountain Hall on Friday.

The play follows a year in the life of protagonist Esther, a seamstress who makes corsets for clients from all walks of life. Esther falls in love with a Hasidic Jew named Mr. Marks, but religion prevents them from realizing their desires. To improve her social status, Esther marries another ‘ an event that sets in motion a betrayal so moving it had audiences shouting at the stage in Toronto and Edmonton, according to director Philip Akin.

“People would actually start yelling out … screaming out, ‘Don’t do that!’” said Akin on Tuesday.

“That means they’ve identified so much, they’re there so much, that it breaks down that little politeness constraint that we all have (to) be polite in Canadian theatre.”

Akin said putting up the play at Neptune ‘ a much smaller stage than those in Toronto, Edmonton and Chicago ‘ presented some unique challenges. On larger stages, the set included four rooms side by side. At Neptune, that was condensed into two square rooms on the bottom level, two on the top, with the two connected by a central staircase.

“I’ve never been on a set in my life where every inch counts,” Akin laughed.

“And so it’s kind of like, ‘Can we move the piano three inches upstage? We’ll move the chair two inches upstage ‘ and don’t come too close to the edge because I don’t want people thinking you’re going to fall off.’”

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