Catherine Sloper, the title character of Ruth and Augustus Goetz's "The Heiress," is no prize--even her father thinks of her as "an entirely mediocre, defenseless creature without a shred of poise."
When dashing young Morris Townsend meets Catherine, though, he sees what no one has before, and confesses his love for her.
Catherine's father isn't impressed; he's convinced that what Townsend has fallen in love with is Catherine's considerable fortune.
Father may be right. After all, though Morris is used to money, he's fresh out of it.
Or, father may be mistaken, simply disappointed that Catherine is no match for her beautiful, witty mother, who died young.
In either case, the onset of first love is helping Catherine bloom like never before.
What follows may not be what you expect, a quality that probably helped the 1947 play--itself based on Henry James' "Washington Square"--become a hit film two years later, with Olivia de Havilland winning an Academy Award for her portrayal of spinster Catherine.
With more talent than physical resources, director Michael Jordan and his cast have mounted a feisty, three-hanky production of "The Heiress," now playing weekends at the Arts Council Center in Thousand Oaks.