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

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 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 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

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