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Westport Community Theatre’s ETC presents a staged reading of
Orange Flower Water
by Craig Wright
directed by Jessica Denes
Friday, April 30 at 8:00 PM
Westport Community Theatre’s Experimental Theatre Company (ETC) is dedicated to bringing a genre of alternative theatre to the Westport stage – original plays, plays straight from their Broadway or off-Broadway runs, and edgier, critically acclaimed contemporary plays that are not suited for the main WCT stages due to language or content. Director Jessica Denes (Master Class and Veronica’s Room for WCT) brings critically-acclaimed playwright Craig Wright’s sizzling play Orange Flower Water to the WCT stage for a gripping, provocative evening of theatre. The cast includes actors familiar to WCT audiences, Peter Wood (The Best Man, Death and the Maiden) and Ann Kinner (Ice Glen, The Best Man, Separate Tables and others) and introduces Rachael Rothman-Cohen and Brian Riley. A note to theatregoers – this play contains strong language and suggestive situations that are intended for mature audiences.
Married couples David (Peter Wood) and Cathy (Ann Kinner) Larson and Brad (Brian Riley) and Beth (Rachael Rothman-Cohen) Youngquist live with their children in the relatively peaceful town of Pine City, Minnesota. David and Beth, after years of maintaining a platonic friendship, begin an adulterous affair with disastrous consequences. Through a series of scenes which all take place on or around a single bed, we see the painfully intense real-time unraveling of both marriages and, eventually, the construction of a very fragile but authentic new beginning for everyone concerned.
Craig Wright received an Emmy nomination for his “Six Feet Under” episode “Twilight” and a WGA nomination for his episode “Falling Into Place.” He has served as writer and producer for the J.J. Abrams series “Lost” and the ABC series “Brothers & Sisters.” He was also author and Executive Producer of his own series, “Dirty Sexy Money.”
The playwright’s critically-acclaimed recent and upcoming productions include “The Unseen” at the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville and at Stages Rep in Houston. He also directed a production of “The Unseen” at the Road Theatre in Los Angeles. “Lady,” which was commissioned by and received its world premiere from Northlight Theatre, recently ran at Asolo Rep. “Grace” premiered at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, where it was nominated for the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play. One of its subsequent productions at the Furious theatre won three LA Drama Critics Circle Awards, including Best Play. “Recent Tragic Events” also debuted at Woolly Mammoth and was produced by Playwrights Horizons with Heather Graham in the lead. “Melissa Arctic,” a contemporary adaptation of The Winter’s Tale, premiered a the Folger Theatre and won the 2005 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play. The Horton Foote American Playwrights Festival recently named him as the 2009 recipient of the Horton Foote Excellence in American Playwriting Award.
Director (and actress) Jessica Denes’ most recent project was directing “Love, Sex, and the I.R.S” at Eastbound Theatre. In addition to WCT, directorial credits include: “The Secret Affairs of Mildred Wild & Confessions of a Dirty Blonde” (Eastbound Theatre); “Summer Brave,” “Time & Time Again,” “The Other Side of Friendship” and “Her Majesty Miss Jones” (Crystal Theatre Company); and productions of “Delicious Death & Other Desserts,” “Not Now Darling,” and “A Night of Shakespeare.” Some of her favorite acting credits are “Orson’s Shadow” (Joan Plowright) and “A Murder is Announced” (Julia) at WCT; “Cactus Flower” (Toni Simmons) at the Town Players of New Canaan; “Our Town” (Emily) at the Wilton Playshop; “Li’L Abner” (Daisy Mae) and “Lost in Yonkers” (Bella) at Crystal Theatre Company; and “Boeing, Boeing” (Bertha) at Eastbound Theatre.
Media praise for “Orange Flower Water” includes:
“It’s simultaneously visceral, with crackling humor, and intellectual.” —Star Tribune.
“Wright wastes no time and pulls no punches.” —TwinCities.com
“Do not be deceived by the lyrical, gently perfumed title of Craig Wright’s play. This is a brutally honest drama about marriage and infidelity—one that chronicles the inevitable big damage and ugly fallout engendered by a ceaseless pursuit of selfishness and an unrestrained search for personal happiness. An emotionally and physically lacerating ordeal, it is at once fiercely adult, shrewdly observant, often painfully graphic and most definitely not for the meek.” —Chicago Sun-Times.
“Uncommonly intense and intimate ninety-minute drama…quirky, raw and nervy…But this is not another play about amoral sexual perversity in the LaBute or Mamet mold. It’s a picture of marriage as a vise grip in which the best one can hope for is some velvet inside the handcuffs.” —Chicago Tribune.
Did you know that Westport Community Theatre is on Twitter? You don’t have to “Tweet” – follow along to stay up to date with all the latest news and events from WCT, including behind-the-scenes peeks at upcoming shows, staged readings and more! “The Hounds of the Baskervilles” is this month’s featured background – take a look at http://twitter.com/Westport_WCT
Praise for “The Hound of the Baskervilles, ” directed by Skip Ploss and produced by Bob Lasprogato, continues to come in; the title causes some confusion, however. One or more hound? One or more Baskerville? To “The” or not to “The”?! All the title variations are irrelevant when it comes to audience reaction this first weekend – they love the performances and love the story! Follow Off-Book this week for more insights into Sherlock Holmes and his author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Returning to the WCT stage in The Hound of the Baskervilles is Scott R. Brill in the pivotal role of Dr. Mortimer. Scott received his Masters in Theatre Directing from Emerson College in Boston where he directed Man of La Mancha, The Ruffian on the Stair, four plays by Samuel Beckett and numerous one-acts. For Westport Community Theatre, Scott directed this season’s opener, Barefoot in the Park as well as productions of Da, What the Butler Saw, ART, Vanities, The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella and Rumors. Scott’s other directing credits for area theatres include: Blithe Spirit, A Grand Night for Singing (New Canaan Town Players); Our Town, Rumors, A Thurber Carnival, Steel Magnolias (Darien Players); The Sisters Rosensweig, The Real Thing (Wilton Playshop); As Bees In Honey Drown (Brookfield Playhouse); The Actor’s Nightmare, Blithe Spirit (Eastbound Theatre); GYPSY, South Pacific (Musicals at Richter) and Jeffrey, Burn This and several one-act plays (Grand Finale Production Company). As an actor, Scott’s roles include his recent critically acclaimed performance as Crumpet the Elf in The SantaLand Diaries (Playhouse on the Green), Allan Felix in Play It Again, Sam (for which he won the Square One Theatre Subscriber’s Award for Outstanding Actor); Antony Wilding in Enchanted April (New Canaan Town Players); Gonzalo in The Tempest, Hortensio in Taming of the Shrew (Putney Players); Ko-Ko in The Mikado (Musicals at Richter); Wes Hurley in Fifth of July, Lloyd Dallas in Noises Off, Jesus in Godspell (Wilton Playshop); Albert in The Secret Garden (Warner Theatre) and Prince Dauntless in Once Upon A Mattress (SHU Center for the Performing Arts). Scott is an Associate Member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, a past President of the Westport Community Theatre and currently serves as the Workshops and Education Chair on the Board of the Wilton Playshop where he recently directed a staged reading of the award-winning new musical, Greenbrier Ghost.
Audience reaction to Friday night’s opening performance of The Hound of the Baskervilles was absolutely wonderful – a success! Excellent performances and the play’s tight direction was cited by many opening night audience members; now, on with the remaining weekend performances, tonight at 8:00 PM and Sunday at 2:00 PM! Get a look at the opening night curtain call courtesy of Dave Matlow and westportnow.com:
And here’s coverage provided by Westport Patch:
The ensemble cast features an outstanding performance by Raymond Stephens as Dr. Watson. Raymond has been away from the footlights at WCT for far too long – he returns to the WCT stage after his last appearance as Charlie in The Foreigner, also directed by Skip Ploss, several years ago. Last month he was seen as Brendan in the excellent New Cannan production of The Weir. Other shows include Brutus in Julius Caesar (Darien Town Players), Inspector Gore in An Inspector Calls (Forthill Players) and Blore in And Then There Were None (Curtain Call). When not on stage, he is designing sound plots, such as the sound for Catch-22 (Curtain Call).”
Auditions for The Women, directed by Richard Mancini, will be held on:
Sunday, April 18 at 7:30 PM
Monday April 19th at 7:30 PM
Tuesday, April 20th at 7:30 PM
Directed by Richard Mancini
Westport Community Theatre
Westport Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Avenue
Westport, CT 06880
Performance dates are June 4 – June 20, 2010
Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script. Familiarity with the play is suggested. For further information please call Westport Community Theatre at (203) 226-1983 or contact the director at email@example.com
This brilliant play has assumed the status of a modern classic. Clare Boothe Luce’s social satire The Women was a smash hit when first performed on Broadway in 1936 and has enjoyed several revival productions during the 1970s and 1990s. A large cast of women (no male characters at all), it is set in the world of high society wives in New York City during the height of the Great Depression – an immensely entertaining panorama of our modern metropolitan world from the feminine viewpoint. The author carries us through a number of varied scenes – and digging under the surface, reveals a human understanding for, and sympathy with, some of its outstanding figures.
The plot involves the efforts of a group of women to play their respective roles in an artificial society that consists of vain show, comedy, tragedy, hope and disappointment. Mary Haines, the protagonist, learns from a gossipy manicurist that her husband, Stephen, is having an affair with a shop-girl named Crystal. After the news of Stephen’s affair is published in a gossip column, Mary decides to divorce him. To obtain her divorce, she travels to Reno, Nevada, where liberal divorce laws attracted many society women wishing to downplay any potential for scandal. While she is in Reno, Mary learns that Stephen has married Crystal. Two years later, Mary, now living back in New York with her children, learns that Crystal has been unfaithful to Stephen. With the help of her friends, Mary sets out to expose Crystal’s infidelity in order to win Stephen back.
Note from the director: The story takes place in NYC society circles in the 1930s, and there are approximately 20 roles available – all for women between 20s and 60s (and one girl of about 10-11) – depending on doubling and/or combining some smaller roles. Along with the principals listed below, there is a small army of hairdressers, beauticians, saleswomen, fitters, dress models, domestics, etc. which can be doubled/tripled in some cases… but please do not think of these roles as negligible, as in many cases THEY are the ones who drive the story along by passing gossip and compromising information – and their dialogue is often just as crackling as that of the principals.
Mary (Mrs. Stephen Haines), mid-30s: the “heroine,” as nice and as sweet as can be – she does not buy into the cattiness (and in some cases maliciousness) of her “friends,” and is very reluctant to believe that her husband is cheating on her… which it turns out he is.
Peggy (Mrs. John Day): pretty, sweet, mid-20s; a young married about whom the author says: “Peggy’s character has not, will never quite “jell.” Almost immediately has marital problems because she has money and her husband has not.
Nancy (Miss Blake): The one unmarried member of Mary’s immediate circle, mid-30s. “Sharp but not acid, sleek but not smart… a worldly and yet virginal 35.”
Sylvia (Mrs. Howard Fowler): mid-30s. “Glassy, elegant, feline.” As catty as they come; purports to be Mary’s closest friend, but is not above causing her tumult and hurt through her gossip, innuendo and “advice.” Cheats on her husband, whom she believes to be impotent (which he’s not…)
Edith (Mrs. Phelps Potter): “A sloppy, expensively dressed (currently by Lane Bryant) ‘matron’ of 33 or 34. Indifferent to everything but self, Edith is incapable of either deliberate maliciousness or spontaneous generosity.”
Crystal Allen: mid-20s; Stephen Haines’ mistress – the classic, cold, calculating, gold-digging, beautiful, sexy, younger “other woman” – a shopgirl-turned-society woman after snatching Stephen; one pretty nasty “bitch.”
Miriam Aarons (first appears as “Mud Mask”): mid-late 20s; a Broadway starlet and (as it turns out) mistress to one of the husbands. Not the cold-hearted bitch that Crystal is, by comparison.
Countess de Lage: 40s – 50s. “An amiable, silly, plump and forty-ish heiress type.”
Other smaller but important, non-doubling roles include:
Mary’s mother (mid-late 50s-60s), who has quietly seen and dealt with marital trouble herself – to Mary’s surprise; advises Mary based on her own experience
“Little Mary” (Mary’s daughter, 11)
Jane (20s, Irish-American), Ingrid and Sadie – domestics in the Haines household
Roles that can be doubled/tripled include Princess Tamara, a dress model; an exercise instructress; Stephen’s secretary (also secretly in love with him); and numerous dress fitters, models, beauticians, hairdressers, saleswomen and society women.
Opening Night, April 9!
Preview audiences last night raved about this production; cast and crew alike are more than excited for tonight’s opening.
Here’s a little behind-the-scenes information on Sam Mink, one of WCT’s favorite actors, portraying one of the most well-known characters of books, stage and screen – Sherlock Holmes:
Sam is pleased to be back working at WCT again. Some of the theatre’s most memorable productions featured Sam, including Proof, Glengarry Glen Ross, Play It Again Sam, The Three Sisters, The Compleat Works of Wm. Shakespeare (Abridged), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, various readings and workshops, and most recently another well known “character,” the role of Larry Olivier in Orson’s Shadow. Other favorite shows he has done with several area theaters include: Dracula (The Musical), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Arms and the Man, Spoon River Anthology, The Birthday Party, Death of a Salesman, and The Trial of the Catonsville Nine.