February 5, 2009

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Divorce and death
Dark Side launches with Naked Pictures

By Heidi Masek hmasek@hippopress.com

Life’s not always great, but humor can be used to heal, Christine Frydenborg said.

She’s playing the younger sister in Naked Pictures of My Ex Husbands, which opens Thursday, Feb. 12, in Manchester. In this play by Seacoast writer Scarlett Ridgeway Savage, two adult sisters are together two months after their mother’s death, packing up their mother’s house.

Frydenborg said her character has “significant relationship issues.” She’s on her fifth divorce. Her older sister recently divorced, but the two talk about the deterioration of their relationships in a lighthearted way. “We all have issues in life,” Frydenborg said.

Savage recently joined with Frydenborg to work on Dark Side Productions. It’s a professional offshoot of Best Foot Forward Productions, a youth education company with an adult theater track that Frydenborg helped start a few years ago. Dark Side morphed from School House Productions, an endeavor started last year with a different playwright. However, those involved found the scripts weren’t “appealing or marketable” or up to their standards, Frydenborg said. 

Tim Dargon, who also performs in Naked Pictures, and Frydenborg had performed in a Savage play in Boston, and approached her about the company.

“Scarlett’s a wonderful writer,” Frydenborg said.

Savage isn’t the only playwright whose work Dark Side will present, but it sounds like she’s influenced the direction.

They want to present “solid comedies” as well as scripts that are geared toward the darker side of life, Frydenborg said.

As School House Players, the group produced Savage’s Chase a Killer, Catch a Killer, Run, Run, Run in November, about a serial killer. Dark Side might later produce Savage’s Numbers, which deals with how rape and sexual assault among teenagers affects family members. Dark Side will be looking for work from independent playwrights, using unpublished scripts or scripts that are lesser used that involve the dark side of life.

“We want to push the envelope a little,” Frydenborg said.

Much of the subject matter has to do with violence against women. A long-term goal is to be able to raise funds for area organizations that work with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, Frydenborg said. Personal experience is a reason the subject is important to both Savage and Frydenborg, Frydenborg said.

“I did an extensive amount doctoral research on post-traumatic stress disorder and how it pertains to victims of sexual assault,” Frydenborg said. She has specialized in that area and treated people with such issues in her psychology practice.

Using scripts relating to that subject is a way for Frydenborg to “approach it in another angle,” she said.

It’s also a way to help promote awareness of the problem. She pointed out that 25 percent of women are sexually assaulted in their lifetimes.

In related news, Frydenborg and Dargon recently signed with Robert Powers Agency in Boston and a New York agency. After about 30 years acting on stage, Frydenborg said she’s interested in screen work.


If you go
What: Naked Pictures of My Ex Husbands, by Scarlett Ridgway Savage, directed by Mike Wood

When: Thursday, Feb. 12, and Friday, Feb. 13, at 8 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 14, at 2 and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Feb. 15, at 2 p.m. at McAllaster Hall, Central High School, Beech Street, in Manchester.

Cost: $12 to $15

Contact: 641-6066, darksideprod@comcast.net, www.bestfootforwardproductions.org

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