March 12, 2009

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British farce and new romantic comedy
Community companies perform No Sex Please, We’re British and Water Sheerie

By Heidi Masek hmasek@hippopress.com

Written in the late 1960s U.K., No Sex Please, We’re British is next in the Milford Area Players’ season. Gary Locke is focusing on the “sensibility” of London’s West End in that era for this farce that he directs for the community company.

“I think that you want a certain sense of time or place so that you can lose yourself in it.... And believe me, it doesn’t hurt to lose yourself in something fun these days,” Locke said.

In No Sex, Please, We’re British, newlyweds Peter and Frances live above a bank Peter manages. Frances’ attempt to start selling Scandinavian glassware results instead in deliveries of Scandinavian adult material like reel-to-reel films and toys.

In part to explain how the actor in Peter’s role is somewhat older, MAP is playing up Peter as a mama’s boy who meets a free-spirited girl. Peter is “very much cutting the apron strings,” Locke said. Frances is patterned after British actress Julie Christie in the 1960s. 

The classic British farces of this time came out of the same school of humor as Benny Hill and the Carry On film series, Locke said.

“I [acted in] this show many years ago in dinner theater.... And the one thing about dinner theater is that you’re very constrained,” Locke said. He thought, “You know this play, with all its doors opening and closing and running around, would be really cool on a big stage,” Locke said. The Amato Center’s is “huge,” he said.

“This is one of the more demanding sets,” Locke said. The story takes place in one apartment. The hatchway from the kitchen to the living room “has a mind of its own,” Locke said. “It becomes like a separate character in the play,” Locke said. Rehearsing without the set is a challenge.

Christina Hamilton, Dave Kulvette, Eric Skoglund, Katherine Richardson, Tom Partridge, Mike Dowd, Bill Mauser, Angela Rossi and Angel Smith perform.

Milford Area Players presents No Sex Please, We’re British by Anthony Marriott and Alistair Foot on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., from March 20 through March 29, at the Amato Center for the Performing Arts, 56 Mont Vernon St., Route 13 in Milford. Tickets cost $7 and $12 at Toadstool Bookshops, at www.MilfordAreaPlayers.org and at the door. Call 673-9073 with questions.

Bedford Off-Broadway produces romantic comedy Water Sheerie by John-Richard Thompson.

Water Sheerie “takes place in, on and around a pond in the Great North Woods of New Hampshire,” director Jude Bascom wrote in an online interview. It references A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the “Water Sheerie” are based on an Irish legend about water sprites.

Author John-Richard Thompson and Bascom knew each other at Epping High School. “He is now a successful published author and playwright living in New York City,” Bascom wrote. Thompson sent Bascom scripts after they were “reunited via the Internet” last year, she wrote. “I fell in love with Water Sheerie,” Bascom wrote.

She was impressed by the production quality at a Bedford Off Broadway performance, and pitched Water Sheerie to the community group.

Thompson visited with the cast, “a fabulous experience — because we could ask questions about characters and meanings of phrases and references and dialogue that otherwise we could only speculate at. And John is so approachable, and as an actor himself appreciates an individual’s desire to bring his or her own bent on the roles,” Bascom wrote.

Bascom wrote it will be a “fun evening-full of Yankee humor and romance.”

“It’s a great show for this time of year when we long for spring,” Bascom wrote. 

See Water Sheerie Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. from March 20 through March 28, at the Bedford Old Town Hall, 3 Meetinghouse Road in Bedford. See www.bedfordoffbroadway.com or call 647-2864. Tickets cost $10.


New on the scene
Jude Bascom is also a co-founder and artistic director of a new community nonprofit company called S.P.A.T.S., which stands for Specializing in the Performing Arts, Theatre and Stage Craft. (Spats were those buttoned covers worn over shoes.)

Bascom and others behinds S.P.A.T.S. have spent a lot of time in New Hampshire companies, including the Palace Theatre, Majestic Theatre, Music and Drama Company, Kids Coop and Saint Anselm College.

Finding they were frequently interviewing to work together, they decided to make their own go at it. Wendy Melillo is a co-founder and executive producer. Blake Leister the musical director and Nicole Aubert choreographs. Goals for S.P.A.T.S. include focusing on overall quality, being “green,” and using actors’ time “wisely and creatively.” They respect that area thespians usually have many other demands on their schedules.

S.P.A.T.S. kicked off with auditions for Les Miserables March 9 and 11. They produce it at Adams Memorial Opera House in Derry in late May with actors between ages 13 and 21 because only School Edition rights were available.

They want to choose a mixture of the familiar and popular and lesser-known work for S.P.A.T.S. They plan to run The Fantasticks and Tick Tick Boom in repertory with actors age 16 and older this fall. Jonathan Larson’s Tick Tick Boom is much less likely to be seen in New Hampshire than his Rent, Bascom said.

Bascom also wants to grow a student orchestra for the productions. Auditions for ages 14 and up are Tuesday, April 7, from 6 to 9 p.m. at West Running Brook School in Derry, where Leister teaches music.

Bascom works at John Stark Regional High School, and Aubert is a psychologist at Londonderry Middle School.

Three two-week S.P.A.T.S. summer camps are scheduled. They want to create a comprehensive learning experience and keep in mind that “some of the kids do shows all the time,” Bascom said. The camps include How to Eat Like a Child and Pinocchio for ages 8 to 16, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a more intensive experience, for ages 13 to 18. They want the teens to come away feeling, “I was stretched,” Bascom said.

Based at the Church of the Transfiguration in Derry, camp programs can be held outside if weather and the task permits. Along with preparing for a final show at Adams, social time and other camp activities are included, plus things like theater games, “a great way to learn a skill without realizing you’re learning,” Bascom said.

There are plenty of theater camp choices in southern New Hampshire, but Bascom said they’ve gotten the sense from other groups that they are maxed out. One reason for the high demand might be parents seeking ways to ensure kids stay active and social and aren’t indoors playing video games all summer. The 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. days are to allow for enough rehearsal and to be sensitive to working parents’ needs. Sessions have space for 50 campers and cost $300. (Talk to the company about scholarship or sibling discounts.) E-mail judedirect@gmail.com.

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2/12/2009 On Golden Pond writer honored
2/5/2009 Divorce and death
1/29/2009 Red carpet?
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1/15/2009 Money, powqer and family
1/8/2009 Offer your two cents
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
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9/18/2008 Stage sports
9/11/2008 Second Life to the rescue
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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
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7/10/2008 Musical monsters
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6/26/2008 Curtain calls
6/19/2008 Summer stock
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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
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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
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11/1/2007 First times
10/25/2007 Curtain Calls
10/18/2007 Curtain Calls
10/11/2007 American History
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9/27/2007 Stringing single
9/20/2007 Curtain Calls
9/13/2007 Free range
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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
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6/14/2007 No really, you'll get it
6/7/2007 Curtain calls
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5/24/2007 Putting the camp in camp
5/17/2007 Curtain Calls
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4/19/2007 Vietnam the the Palace
4/12/2007 Confluence
4/5/2007 First look
3/29/2007 Reluctant star
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3/1/2007 Into the future
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1/25/2007 Curtain calls
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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
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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
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09/21/2006 Getting judged
09/14/2006 Long strange journey
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08/24/2006 Putting kids in charge
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08/10/2006 All theater, all summer
08/03/2006 A Jesus musical, reworked
07/27/2006 A match made in Maine
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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'
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04/13/2006 Nashua rocks The Wiz
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03/30/2006 Cabaret is Mnchester bound
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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
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01/12/2006 This Phantom is not a menace
01/05/2006 Jim Kelly, sci-fi writer and alternate historian
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10 Ways To Survive The Audition
A Chorus Line
A Figaro Worth Cheering
A 'Living Newspaper' on stage
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A Tribute To Music
Actorsingers Deliver On Superstar
Beauty and the Beast
Bedford Off-Broadway Gets Spooky
Being The Beatles, 1964 The Tribute
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Crimes Of The Heart
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Dana Center Takes Center Stage
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From stage to the silver screen
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Greater Tuna
Humble Boy
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Jesus Christ Superstar
Kids Tackle Edgar Allan Poe
Local boy hits the big time, doesnít lose his head
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Madco welcomes Boston actor-director
Meet John Sefel, Director
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Peterborough Playersí Solidarity is solid gold
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Racy, crazy blast at the Palace
Reviving His Passion
Robert Dionne, The man behind the Majestic
Rosemary Dann
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Short-Attention Span Theater
Side Show
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Spending The Summer On Stage
Stages of learning
Steel Magnolias
Suessical: The Musical
Theater Of The Imagination
Theater Kids Without A School
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The Drawer Boy
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The†Five best shows of 2005
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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