PictureMill Valley Recreation Director Jenny Rogers, at left, and her spouse and artistic partner Clove Galilee at a recent symposium on their production company Trick Saddle. Courtesy image.

Mill Valley residents know Jenny Rogers as the City of Mill Valley’s Recreation Director, spearheading a vast department that runs all things parks and arts in our town.

But as is common in Mill Valley, our hobbies are just as interesting – if not moreso – than our professions. 

Rogers, who created the theatrical production company Trick Saddle with her spouse Clove Galilee more than a decade ago, is basking from afar in the rave reviews being garnered by their newest play, Imaging the Imaginary Invalid, which debuted at La MaMa theater in Manhattan’s East Village in January and runs through Feb. 7.

The play was recently named a Critics’ Pick by the New York Times, a rare feat for an off-Broadway play. The story behind the play’s development was the subject of a recent feature story in the Times. It starts with Galilee’s mother, actress Ruth Maleczech, who in 2012 was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and underwent an operation on her leg that left her temporarily bedridden.

Galilee the hunted for a play that she and her mother, a founding member of the venerable experimental theater company Mabou Mines, according to the Times, could work on from a hospital bed. The play they landed on, The Imaginary Invalid, “is a 1673 Molière comedy about Argan, a miserly, sedentary hypochondriac,” the Times says. Mom and daughter later staged workshop productions of the play, but Maleczech died two months after the second one.

Over the past two years, Rogers adapted the text originally prepared by Valeria Vasilevski, combining “Molière’s script with gossip about the workings of his own troupe, the Illustrious Theater Company, and contemporary backstage chatter,” according to the Times

Galilee told the Times that Imagining the Imaginary Invalid “is an attempt to fuse her parents’ way of working with the distinct style that she and Rogers have developed in their own projects.”

Rogers says Imagining the Imaginary Invalid will likely move to San Francisco later this year. Stay tuned.


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