By Heidi Masek firstname.lastname@example.org
• Theater for adults: Community company Milford Area Players presents about three “Off the MAP” staged readings each year of plays that they find interesting but can’t do full productions of.
The Sleeper, by Catherine Butterfield, is about a post-9/11 suburban “security mom” who is drawn to her son’s tutor, who has much different political leanings, according to MAP. They present the staged reading Friday, Sept. 11, at 8 p.m., for free at the Amato Center, 56 Mont Vernon St., Route 13 in Milford (www.MilfordAreaPlayers.org). Deborah Shaw, Mari Keegan, Larry Pizza, Marc Pelletier, Jason Crowell, Victoria Hogan and Neal Blaiklock perform under Vick Bennison’s direction. (MAP says it “contains adult language and situations and is not appropriate for children.”)
• More theater for adults: “It’s funny, the two playwrights in question are kind of heavy hitters, but this is not necessarily their heaviest work,” said Matthew Cahoon. He’s directing Carey Cahoon and Brian Kennedy in A.R. Gurney’s The Problem and Harold Pinter’s The Lover for Theatre KAPOW. The Cahoons, Kennedy and Rachel Follien founded tKAPOW in 2008.
Both plays are comedies, not what people expect from Pinter, Cahoon said.
Among the awards for East London-born Pinter (1930–2008) were the Laurence Olivier Award and the 2005 Nobel Prize for Literature. Many companies are doing work by Pinter as a tribute since he died in 2008. However, many options required large casts or were technically challenging for tKAPOW, Cahoon said.
Born in Buffalo, also in 1930, Gurney attended Williams College and Yale School of Drama, served in the Navy and taught at M.I.T.
Set in the U.K. and the U.S., both these 1960s plays look at “the kind of hoops that we jump through to keep the spark alive in our marriages,” Cahoon said.
Pinter’s 1962 The Lover “explores the repercussions when dull domesticity and sexual fantasy collide,” according to Theatre KAPOW. In Gurney’s 1969 The Problem, an American couple “are caught in a complicated and perverse spiral of sexual fantasies that enable them to keep their marriage alive.” The two actors play both the upper-middle-class British couple and the Americans.
These are funny shows with “adult humor...a good night out,” Cahoon said. The first play runs about 45 minutes, followed by intermission and a second play running about 30 minutes. Performances are Friday, Sept. 11, at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, Sept. 12, at 2 and 7:30 p.m. at the Stockbridge Theatre at Pinkerton Academy on Bypass 28 in Derry ($12-$15). Call 437-5210 or see www.tkapow.com. There’s a talk-back after the 2 p.m. show.
• Stretch your brain: The New Hampshire Community Theatre Association Festival was cut from two days to one this year because the five competing companies all entered pieces only about a half hour long. The performance time limit is one hour, said Mariah Sefel, NHCTA president. Companies also have 10-minute limits to set up and break down. A panel of adjudicators gives their comments immediately afterward, a little like America’s Got Talent, etc. “We try to push it that way,” Sefel said. Their hurdle is letting people know this festival isn’t just for theater people or actors, she said; adjudicators talk about set design, direction, sound design, lighting and more. The 38th festival is Sunday, Sept. 13, at the Majestic Theatre, 281 Cartier St. in Manchester. Adjudicators are Northern Essex Community College professor Jim Murphy, co-chair for region 1 American College Theatre Festival; Fitchburg State College professor Kelly Morgan; and Advice to the Players artistic director Caroline Nesbitt. They offer workshops to the public starting at 10 a.m., on Shakespeare and the business of being an actor, Sefel said. It only costs $5 to attend one, and elsewhere you’d pay a heck of a lot more, Sefel said.
The performance session starts at 1:30 p.m. ($15). Actorsingers of Nashua performs Check Please by Jonathan Rand. Ghostlight Theater Company of New England of Salem (2006 and 2007 winners) performs Cuba Si! by Terrence McNally. Nashua Theatre Guild (2008 winner) performs Babel’s in Arms by David Ives. Actors’ Circle Theatre of Peterborough performs The Dining Room by A. R. Gurney, and the Majestic performs The Universal Language, by David Ives. A pass for the whole day costs $25. NHCTA member admission is included in their $25 annual dues. Call the Majestic at 669-7469 for tickets or see www.nhcommunitytheatre.com.
• For kids: StageCoach Productions recently moved into the 25 Front St. space in Nashua that Phoenix Academy had to abandon early this summer. With its own space, StageCoach’s plans include adult acting, vocal and dance classes (two six-week sessions start Sept. 18; see stagecoachproductions.org). Music director Judy Hayward’s special project is launching the Southern New Hampshire Children’s Choir. She hopes for 40 students and aims for professional choir quality, possibly touring or competing eventually. Auditions are Saturday, Sept. 12, at StageCoach, but are not difficult, Hayward said. Check with StageCoach (320-6321 or 672-9664 or stagecoachproductions.org) for age-group audition times. Students will rehearse weekly for December and June concerts, and the $200 semester tuition covers music costs.
• Also starting: Fall trimester classes at the Riverbend School of Theater Arts at the Boys & Girls Club of Souhegan Valley start in September and include dance, costume design, musical theater and iRadio Theater. See www.svbgc.org or call 465-3456 for details.