FREE to the public! No reservations necessary.
Westport Community Theatre is presenting an original workshop production of a new play, Rise and Fall, by noted media personality and former Westport resident, Eric Burns. Rise and Fall takes place on March 10th at 8 p.m. The one-night staged reading is part of WCT’s ETC staged reading series.
The March 10 reading is free to the public and includes a talk-back with Burns after the play, along with a dessert reception. It utilizes the talents of two directors new to WCT, Rachel Babcock and Lori Holm, and is produced by WCT board member and Westporter Cindy Hartog. The cast includes Westport residents Deanna Hartog, Danielle Hartog, and Ann Kinner, as well as Damian Long, Jeff Pliskin, and Cooper Ramsey.
Eric Burns, a well-known American author, media critic and former broadcast journalist, has won major awards in three different genres of writing. As an NBC correspondent in the 70s and 80s, he was named one of the best writers in the history of broadcast news by the Washington Journalism Review. A few years later, he won an Emmy for media criticism and his first play, Mid-Strut, won the prestigious Eudora Welty Emerging Playwrights Award.
His most recent book, Someone to Watch Over Me: A Portrait of Eleanor Roosevelt and the Tortured Father Who Shaped Her Life, soon to arrive in bookstores, has already received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly. 1920: The Year That Made the Decade Roar, was named one of the best non-fiction books of 2015 and two of his earlier volumes won the highest award possible for academic press books, being named the “Best of the Best” by the American Library Association.
Burns’ Rise and Fall is the unusual tale of the marriage between Jake and Suzanne Hollander, two successful, literate people who, at Suzanne’s insistence, end their union after thirty-five years. Some scenes break the time barrier and include the young, newly wed versions of the Hollanders, subtly planting the seeds of their eventual dissolution as they revel in love, lust and parenthood. The young Suzanne and Jake also meet the older versions of themselves, and, at times in the play, Jake, a historian, addresses his students (the audience) directly about events of the past, subtly managing to introduce scenes about his marital woes.
Rise and Fall also cleverly becomes a play within a book. The Hollander’s son Robby, having slammed against the wall of writer’s block after a highly regarded first book of his own, decides to tell the story of his parents’ break up, writing a book called Rise and Fall as the break-up unfolds on stage. The seriousness of the plot, which includes a tragic surprise at the end of each act, is leavened by a number of laughs that defuse the tension.
We look forward to having you join us!