June 26, 2008

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Curtain calls
By Heidi Masek hmasek@hippopress.com

• Tough job: The Schoolhouse Players are staging a new play from Southern New Hampshire University professor Charles Wilbert. The company is a spinoff project that developed between Wilbert and Best Foot Forward Productions, an educational theater company that’s only a few years old. Schoolhouse Players was launched to offer professional productions for original scripts and those from local playwrights. Wilbert’s Tricolored Roof is a comedy about a brother and sister whose father tasks them with shingling their roof. It runs Friday, June 27, and Saturday, June 28, at 2 and 8 p.m. at the Bedford Old Town Hall, at 70 Bedford Center Road. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. Call 641-6066 or see www.bestfootforwardproductions.org. Schoolhouse is also planning to produce it at The Players’ Ring in Portsmouth in spring of 2009.

• Their own home: Yellow Taxi Productions started working on finding their own venue in 2006, and almost a year ago received a Corporate Fund grant to help with the search. They’ve just settled on a space in the Nashua millyard at 5 Pine St. Extension between Gallery One, which is the exhibit space of the Nashua Area Artists Association, and the Nashua Community Music School.

The 960 square feet is divided — half will be used for office space, while the other will be a black box theater that can seat between 35 and 40, said YTP founder Suzanne Delle. That’s about the number of seats that YTP set up for shows they performed at the historic Hunt Building in Nashua.

The professional company focuses on contemporary work. They were used to “working in a lot of untraditional theater spaces” in their six years of existence, Delle said. One of their more traditional spaces was the 14 Court St. Theater in Nashua. They’ve been using second-floor office space on Main Street in Nashua as a base of operations. The move to their own venue will allow them to keep props and costumes handy, as well as save the hassle of finding rehearsal and performance space.

“All sorts of things will be a lot easier.... Having our own space will allow us to run shows for longer periods of time ... hopefully word of mouth will help grow audiences for productions,” Delle said.

The venue is “truly a black box,” Delle said. They can set up seating in the round, or whatever layout they need for the script, depending on what the relationship should be between the audience and the actors, she said.

YTP actually looked at the building more than a year ago, Delle said. “I really like the idea of a renovated mill,” she said. It feels both “New Englandy” and urban, she said. (It also has a decent amount of free parking.) They looked in other towns, shopping centers and other areas, and came back to 5 Pine St. Extension when a different unit became available. YTP is leasing from P.M. MacKay.

• Love affair: The Winnipesaukee Playhouse opens their professional summer stock season with a romantic comedy from a writer whose work includes Bewitched.

In Same Time, Next Year, Bernard Slade’s protagonists meet while traveling in 1951. Both are married, but the two decide to meet at the same inn at the same time each year. Slade’s story takes them through 25 years of these rendezvous, which coincide with the cultural shift from the 1950s through the 1970s. California-based actors Mark Woollett and Candace Clift play George and Doris. Woollett and Clift are married and performed at the Winnipesaukee Playhouse in Sylvia in 2006.

Tickets cost $19 for adults and $17 for seniors and students. Call 366-7377 or see www.winniplayhouse.com. Performances run through Saturday, July 5. Shows are at 2 and 8 p.m. on Mondays, and 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.


Emma Benson and Michael Soares will appear in the Tricolored Roof. Courtesy photo.

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Wake up to ‘night Mother