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!
Westport Community Theatre’ ETC presents a staged reading of Trumbo – Red, White & Blacklisted on Friday, October 22 at 8:00 PM; FREE to members and subscribers, $5 all others at the door.
Mark your calendars and join us for a timely, very special evening of theatre on Friday, October 22 at 8:00 PM.
Award-winning local actor Alexander Kulcsar portrays screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, in “Trumbo – Red, White & Blacklisted,” bringing the dark days of the 1940s and 1950s Hollywood blacklisting to life in the first staged-reading production of the 2010 / 2011 ETC season at Westport Community Theatre. Free to members and subscribers, $5 all others at the door (no reservations necessary). This staged reading will also be presented at Bare Bones Theatre, Pequot Library in Southport, on Thursday, October 21 at 7:30 PM.
This is a special guest presentation of Square One Theatre Company’s staged reading in association with the Stratford Library, directed by Square One Theatre’s artistic director, Tom Holehan. Peter Wood, who will be starring in WCT’s next production of “Angel Street,” plays Christopher Trumbo, the narrator of the piece.
When famed screenwriter Dalton Trumbo defiantly stood up against the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947, refusing to answer questions about his political affiliations, he was thrown in prison and blacklisted as one of the “Hollywood Ten.” Written by Trumbo’s son, Christopher, the play is derived from a collection of Dalton Trumbo’s brilliant and razor-sharp letters to friends, former friends, and family throughout his lifetime. Trumbo reveals how the author of such legendary films as “Spartacus,” “Roman Holiday,” “Exodus,” “Papillon” and “Johnny Got his Gun” (as well as “The Brave One,” which forced him to write under the pseudonym Robert Rich) took on Congress, Hollywood, and the “Red Scare”— and won.
Trumbo enjoyed a very successful Off-Broadway run with many well-known actors in the title role – Nathan Lane, F. Murray Abraham, Brian Dennehy, Gore Vidal, Richard Dreyfuss, Roger Rees, Robert Loggia, Christopher Lloyd, Michael Richards and Chris Cooper. It was produced by the Westport Country Playhouse in 2004 starring Paul Newman in one of his final roles.
Alexander Kulcsar is well known to Westport audiences for his mainstage performances of Orson Welles in “Orson’s Shadow,” physicist Niels Bohr in “Copenhagen,” and The Man in “The Turn of the Screw.” He has performed in or directed ETC readings including “On an Average Day”; “The Reeducation of Horse Johnson”; “Rabbit Hole”; “The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia”; “A Picasso” (playing the infamous Pablo Picasso); and others. He will be directing WCT’s next mainstage production, the classic thriller “Angel Street,” having previously directed critically acclaimed productions of “The Best Man,” “Sherlock’s Last Case,” and “The Turn of the Screw.” Alexander is the recipient of five Square One Theatre Subscribers Awards, including Outstanding Actor (“Moonlight & Magnolias,” “The Shop at Sly Corner,” “Camping with Henry and Tom,” and “The Business of Murder”) as well as Outstanding Featured Actor (“Later Life”). He will be appearing next May in Square One Theatre’s production of “Art.”
Peter Wood is also well known to Westport audiences; ETC roles include David in one of the most talked-about of our readings, last season’s Orange Flower Water. He was also seen in “Apartment 3A” and in mainstage productions of “The Best Man” and “Death and the Maiden.” Peter has been nominated for a number of Square One Theatre Subscribers Awards, including “The Rainmaker” and “The Best Man.” He has produced and acted in several productions at Putney Gardens in Stratford, including the Prince in “Romeo and Juliet”; other lead roles with Putney include Orlando in “As You Like It,” Oberon in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Orsino in “Twelfth Night,” Don Pedro in “Much Ado About Nothing,” and Alonso in “The Tempest.” He played Elyot in Eastbound Theatre’s (Milford, CT) production of Noel Coward’s “Private Lives” last fall, and Tom in Pound Ridge Theatre Company’s “Dinner with Friends” this past spring. This past summer, Peter drew on his musical talents in a production of “Guys and Dolls” with Musicals at Richter.
We look forward to seeing you for what promises to be an entertaining evening of theatre! Go to www.westportcommunitytheatre.com for directions to the theatre.
FREE for subscribers and members
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.