January 8, 2009

Navigation

†††Home Page

News & Features

†††News

Columns & Opinions

†††Publisher's Note

†††Boomers

†††Pinings

†††Longshots

†††Techie

Pop Culture

†††Film

†††TV

†††Books
†††Video Games
†††CD Reviews

Living

†††Food

†††Wine

†††Beer

Music

†††Articles

†††Music Roundup

†††Live Music/DJs

†††MP3 & Podcasts

†††Bandmates

Arts

†††Theater

†††Art

Classifieds

†††View Classified Ads

†††Place a Classified Ad

Advertising

†††Advertising

†††Rates

Contact Us

†††Hippo Staff

†† How to Reach The Hippo

Past Issues

†† Browse by Cover


Offer your two cents
Hear new plays in Concord

By Heidi Masek hmasek@hippopress.com

The lobby of the Concord City Auditorium is now the place to hear new plays in the new series “Page to Stage.” It’s held about one Sunday per month.

“I was fortunate enough to meet a person with great interest in developing new works for the theater,” said Carol Bagan of the Friends of the Concord City Auditorium. Their discussions led to a grant from the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust for the Friends.

Bagan felt it would be best to use the grant to benefit both the New Hampshire theater community and New Hampshire playwrights trying to get work produced. Yet she didn’t feel developing new work quite fell under the Friends mission. She contacted Wayland Bunnell, from the Community Players of Concord, which had a playwrights’ group, she said. The Players have joined the Friends in running the series.

“The best musical ever written, in my opinion,

Chorus Line, started as a workshop,” Bagan said.

“You never know what will happen.”
Attending Page to Stage is free, and there are cookies.

“The audience becomes really involved with the discussion afterward,” Bagan said.

The relatively well-known local playwright David Preece was at the inaugural P2S, as they call it. His adaptation, Charles Dickens’ Ghost Stories, presented by Community Players of Concord, won New Hampshire Theatre Awards, and Tender, staged by Yellow Taxi Productions, won a NH Theatre Award for best professional production.
Preece brought his adaptation of House of Seven Gables to P2S, along with a few actors from Music and Drama Company. The community group produced it in Derry in October, Bagan said.

“People were interested in how you come to be a playwright ... how you turn a classic book into script ... how to turn that script into a production,” Bagan said.

“I took the feedback that was given to me and made some changes to the play,” Preece said. “I owe a lot to Carol Bagen,” Preece said.

The art of playwriting is constantly rewriting, Preece said. “When you’re writing something, [you are] so close to the source, you can’t see where the gaps are,” Preece said. He also worked on Seven Gableswith MADCo. You need to hear the script and get feedback from actors and directors, he said.

“You know, Edward Albee is still making changes,” Preece said of the famed playwright.

Preece thinks the P2S series is a great opportunity to get new works read and to generate interest in them. “It’s easy to do productions of Neil Simon ... but if you don’t know there’s equally talented writers out there, those writers never be given a chance.”
Exposure was what Joel Mercier of Manchester was looking for at P2S when he brought A Christmas Carol: The Musical Ghost Story in December.

A Christmas Carol is a wonderful tradition” but ends up sugar-coated, Bagan said. Mercier “captured the spirit” of Dickens’ time, when the ghosts were “really spooks,” she said.

Mercier had had a staged reading the previous year and his goal at P2S was to get it in front of people who might consider producing it. Actors Kennedy Pugh of Bedford and Marisa Roberge of Manchester assisted.

This is Mercier’s first full musical, although he’s also a composer and arranger, music director and Equity actor (www.joelmercier.com). He spent the last three years in New York doing those things professionally. Originally from New Hampshire, he recently returned to Manchester for a break from the city.

He’s found readings of new work are much bigger in New York and Connecticut, where he’s also lived. He thinks the series is a great addition to culture in New Hampshire.

It’s “fantastic” as an audience member to see the beginning of a piece, especially if it ends up in a full production, Mercier said.

Andre Tremblay of Bow, a “wonderful comedic actor,” brought his one-act comedies Twenty Pages and Vinnie Comes Knocking in November, Bagan said. Actors were off book and used a simple set.
Coming up Jan. 11 is Don Tongue of Londonderry, well-known as an actor in New Hampshire, Bagan said.

This will be the first public staged reading of Tongue’s short comedies, School Portrait Monologues and Void.

School Portrait Monologues is “about a high school student, Gina Garfoni, who had a terrible school photo taken the previous year and is panicking in the hallway waiting for the photographer to call her in. The photographer has an unusual approach that allows the students to reveal their true nature and to come to realizations about themselves and others,” Tongue wrote in an e-mail. Void concerns “two characters who are stuck in an unfinished play,” Tongue wrote.

Actors Joletta Hardman, Marc Pelletier and John Decareau are helping out.

Tongue said there’s a process to developing plays, and this stage is about hearing how it sounds, getting actors to read it, seeing how well the language flows, and getting an audience reaction. He’ll also be checking to see if what the protagonist wants is clear, and if conflicts are clear.

“A lot of things I’ve read about playwriting, and in the course I’m taking, talked about playwrights getting some acting experience, getting some directing experience.” Without it, a playwright may not be aware of what it’s like to try to deliver lines on stage. Work can feel more “novelistic,” he said. Tongue thinks his time acting and directing has given him a sense of dialogue.

His first attempt followed actors playing the Cratchits in A Christmas Carol back stage and in the green room. 

He found that he enjoyed writing plays, and that his first try was “god awful.” It was what’s called a “park bench play,” he said. Two people meet, have interesting discussions, but there’s no real story to drive it forward or keep the audience invested, he said. Tongue started taking courses online through Gotham Writers’ Workshop in New York about two years ago. He’s also joined Playwright’s Platform, a writer’s group that meets twice a month in Massachusetts. Tongue is a computer scientist for Meditech in Massachusetts.

The next P2S dates are Feb. 1 and March 2. Contact Wayland Bunnell to submit scripts. “We would like to give everyone a chance to develop their work,” Bagan said.


Don Tongue. Courtesy photo.

If you go
What: Page to Stage series of new work from New Hampshire playwrights, presented by Friends of the Concord City Auditorium, and the Community Players of Concord.
Who: Don Tongue, of Londonderry, presents staged readings of short comedies School Portrait Monologues and Void
When: Sunday, Jan. 11, from 3 to 5 p.m.
Where: Concord City Auditorium, 2 Prince St., Concord
Cost: free

Playwrights: To present your work during the series, contact Wayland Bunnell, President of the Community Players, at wtarrytown@aol.com or 668-5466.

 

1/1/2009 Tapping into the spotlight

12/25/2008 Curtain calls
12/18/2008 BIg things that come in envelopes
12/11/2008 Curtiain calls
12/04/2008 Remains of an affair
11/27/2008 Ballet — not for the faint of heart
11/20/2008 Mary's new home
11/13/2008 Company, Secret garden and Doubt
11/6/2008 That Broadway sound
10/30/2008 Curtain calls
10/23/2008 Busy theaters
10/16/2008 All in one weekend
10/9/2008 Merrimack Rep at 20
10/2/2008 Curtain calls
9/25/2008 Curtain calls
9/18/2008 Stage sports
9/11/2008 Second Life to the rescue
9/4/2008 Curtain calls
8/28/2008 Tennessee Williams at Weirs
8/21/2008 Change for the moment
8/14/2008 Curtain calls
8/7/2008 Wicked experience
7/31/2008 Merry tales
7/24/2008 Review: the great outdoors
7/17/2008 Curtain calls
7/10/2008 Musical monsters
7/3/2008 Curtain calls
6/26/2008 Curtain calls
6/19/2008 Summer stock
6/12/2008 Curtain calls
6/5/2008 This one time, at drama camp...
5/29/2008 Curtain calls
5/22/2008 Making it big
5/15/2008 Curtain calls
5/8/2008 Curtain calls
5/1/2008 Forging ahead
4/24/2008 The Bard, condensed
4/17/2008 'Balance' in Bedford
4/10/2008 Curtain calls
4/3/2008 Singing for a cause
3/27/2008 These aren't recitals folks
3/20/2008 Albee at MRT
3/13/2008 Murder and rhinos
3/6/2008 Murder and rhinos
2/28/2008 The art of theater criticism
2/21/2008 Breaking the cycle
2/14/2008 Curtain Calls
2/7/2008 NH Theatre awards sixth year
1/31/2008 Elvis fans and ghost stories
1/24/2008 Building an audience
1/17/2008 Curtain Calls
1/10/2008 Fate of Annicchiarico
1/3/2008 A little confidence
12/27/2007 Stage notables in 2007
12/20/2007 If all they want for Christmas is two good seats ...
12/13/2007 Summer stock vs. southern NH
12/06/2007 Curtain Calls
11/29/2007 Curtain Calls
11/22/2007 Broadway composer and actress hit Granite State
11/15/2007 One-man play turns audience into students
11/8/2007 Curtain calls
11/1/2007 First times
10/25/2007 Curtain Calls
10/18/2007 Curtain Calls
10/11/2007 American History
10/04/2007 Active in the community
9/27/2007 Stringing single
9/20/2007 Curtain Calls
9/13/2007 Free range
9/6/2007 Curtain Calls
8/30/2007 Curtain Calls
8/23/2007 Curtain Calls
8/16/2007 Curtain Calls
8/9/2007 Curtain Calls
8/2/2007 That deaf, dumb and blind kid
7/26/2007 Potty humor
7/19/2007 Ease on down the road
7/12/2007 Jekyll vs. Hyde
7/5/2007 If it's free, it's for me
6/28/2007 Transformations
6/21/2007 Curtain calls
6/14/2007 No really, you'll get it
6/7/2007 Curtain calls
5/31/2007 Curtain calls
5/24/2007 Putting the camp in camp
5/17/2007 Curtain Calls
5/10/2007 Curtain Calls
5/3/2007 Curtain Calls
4/26/2007 Still going strong
4/19/2007 Vietnam the the Palace
4/12/2007 Confluence
4/5/2007 First look
3/29/2007 Reluctant star
3/15/2007 In a town far away
3/8/2007 Curtain calls
3/1/2007 Into the future
2/22/2007 But will it play in New Hampshire
2/15/2007 Curtain calls
2/8/2007 Family affair
2/1/2007 Curtain calls
1/25/2007 Curtain calls
1/18/2007 Curtain calls
1/11/2007 Curtain calls
1/4/2007 Fork in the road
12/28/2006 Standout performances of '06
12/21/2006 Curtain Calls
12/14/2006 Players remember Peter Bridges
12/07/2006 Young talent
11/30/2006 Lighthearted farce for the holidays
11/23/2006 Curtain Calls
11/16/2006 Good theater
11/9/2006 Preview roundup
11/2/2006 Access to the ancients
10/26/2006 Aida on a Nashua stage
10/19/2006 Children of a Lesser God brilliantly played
10/12/2006 A true love triangle
10/05/2006 Curtain Calls
09/28/2006 Bringing people back to life
09/21/2006 Getting judged
09/14/2006 Long strange journey
09/07/2006 Curtain Calls
08/31/2006 Curtain Calls
08/24/2006 Putting kids in charge
08/17/2006 Curtain Calls
08/10/2006 All theater, all summer
08/03/2006 A Jesus musical, reworked
07/27/2006 A match made in Maine
07/20/2006 Variations on a theme
07/13/2006 I Hate Hamlet
07/06/2006 Serious theater
06/29/2006 L.A. in Peterborough
06/22/2006 Da Vinci to Rube Goldberg
06/15/2006 Peter Bridges remembered
06/08/2006 From Hairspray to monkeys
06/01/2006 Special Theatrics
05/25/2006 Live Brit-com
05/18/2006 Evil stepsisters earn the yuks
05/11/2006 A message to mom
05/04/2006 Meet the cast
04/27/2006 'I hope i get it'
04/20/2006 Find yourself in Yonkers
04/13/2006 Nashua rocks The Wiz
04/06/2006 Nashua rocks The Wiz
03/30/2006 Cabaret is Mnchester bound
03/23/2006 A 42nd Street detour
03/16/2006 Actor-director wants your ideas
02/23/2006 Yellow Taxi's Theater Festival opens March 1
02/16/2006 Herding CATS
02/09/2006 An†actors' studio
02/02/2006 A thing about love
01/26/2006 Spring theater season warming up
01/19/2006 Gearing up for the big night
01/12/2006 This Phantom is not a menace
01/05/2006 Jim Kelly, sci-fi writer and alternate historian
10th anniversary at Capitol Center
10 Ways To Survive The Audition
A Chorus Line
A Figaro Worth Cheering
A 'Living Newspaper' on stage
A tale of two wives
A Tribute To Music
Actorsingers Deliver On Superstar
Beauty and the Beast
Bedford Off-Broadway Gets Spooky
Being The Beatles, 1964 The Tribute
Bringing NYC to Wilton
Creating the venue from antiques
Crimes Of The Heart
Curtain to rise on Dana Center
Dana Center Takes Center Stage
Ensemble elevates Palaceís Godspell
From stage to the silver screen
Great play, too bad itís over
Greater Tuna
Humble Boy
Itís cabaret, hear it sing, joke, tease
It's Child's Play
Jesus Christ Superstar
Kids Tackle Edgar Allan Poe
Local boy hits the big time, doesnít lose his head
Lowell theater opens with a winner of a satire
Madco welcomes Boston actor-director
Meet John Sefel, Director
Meet Suzanne Delle, Yellow Taxiís driver
Music Man to run three weekends
New Thalian Players
Palace announces 2005-06 season
Peterborough Playersí Solidarity is solid gold
Plaid
Plaid (II)
Playing with manís best friend
Proud of the Peacock
Racy, crazy blast at the Palace
Reviving His Passion
Robert Dionne, The man behind the Majestic
Rosemary Dann
Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know
Short-Attention Span Theater
Side Show
Sideshow slips sideways
Spending The Summer On Stage
Stages of learning
Steel Magnolias
Suessical: The Musical
Theater Of The Imagination
Theater Kids Without A School
Theater in the park draws big
The Drawer Boy
The Festival
The†Five best shows of 2005
The Prisoner Of Second Avenue
The Russian/American Kids Circus
The Senator Wore Pantyhose
The Tony Awards, they're grrrrreat
The Warmth Of The Cold
Three nights, three shows at the Palace
Tosca

Under the Caribbean with the little mermaid

Wake up to Ďnight Mother