October 1, 2009

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Page to Stage returns
Les Rosenthal’s drama opens the second season

By Heidi Masek hmasek@hippopress.com

Les Rosenthal’s Gideon is “the story of one man who dances at the edge and somehow finds his way back into reality,” Rosenthal said.

“Gideon is an older man with a wife he loves, and a child he somehow feels that he failed. A cataclysmic event in his life makes the world no longer make sense to him and he has no idea how to cope with it,” Rosenthal said.

A staged reading of the four-character play kicks off the second Page to Stage season at the Concord City Auditorium on Sunday, Oct. 4, at 3 p.m.

The way P2S ran last year, the audience arrived to refreshments, it was “sociable” and “pleasant,” organizer Carol Bagan said. The house was set up the way the playwright chose; actors came on; the playwright introduced the piece; and afterward, the playwright came back for a question-and-answer session, she said.

P2S “started out as a refreshing new idea. And it attracted people who were really interested in new works for the stage,” Bagan said. Many of the audience members were playwrights themselves. The Friends of the Concord City Auditorium present the series.

Of those six performances, one later received honors at the Heartland Competition, one at the Boston Theatre Festival and another at the NH Theatre Awards. The Walker Lecture Fund will produce Rebecca Rule’s Crosscut at the Audi on March 24, 2010.

Last year’s “trial balloon” season was possible because of the “gift and inspiration” of the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, which has renewed its support, Bagan said.

The P2S 2009-10 season isn’t set in stone, but a preview of work by Jim Webber of Manchester and others is scheduled for Dec. 6, to coincide with a Friends of the Audi meeting. Called Judy’s Scary Little Christmas, it will be produced by Music and Drama Company Dec. 10-13 at the Court Street Theater in Nashua (www.judyschristmas.com). It’s been performed in California, Iowa and Chicago.

As for Gideon, Rosenthal presented it at a Long Island workshop four years ago, then wouldn’t look at the script for a year. Then he took out his notes for a “massive rewrite.” He writes for his own enjoyment. It was his wife who heard of P2S and thought some of his projects might fit, he said.

Rosenthal started working on Gideon periodically about eight years ago. “It has to do with how an individual deals with some apocalyptic event in their life. Especially older people. How we deal with it, what goes on. How we come back from the edge of that precipice, if we ever do. Some of us don’t,” he said.

It explores other concepts. “We live in a society where anything out of the norm, out of the mainstream is ignored or shunned,” he said. Dealing with that is more difficult when you are older, “because we’re one of the few societies that really doesn’t honor elders the way other societies do,” Rosenthal said.

Rosenthal, 57, was the head of the Educational Theatre Association in New Hampshire, and taught theater and media studies. His work has been performed at theater festivals, but he isn’t used to fielding questions from an audience, “especially when it’s my child I’m talking about,” Rosenthal said. Still, he’s looking forward to P2S, he said.

Rosenthal didn’t want to give much away about the story, but said, “It does have some very funny moments to it. But it is a human tragedy of epic proportions. And yet within that tragedy there’s redemption, and kind of a reuniting of spirits and souls.”


P2S
What: Staged reading of Gideon, by Les Rosenthal, followed by a Q&A with the playwright 
Where: The Concord City Auditorium, 2 Prince St., Concord
When: Sunday, Oct. 4, 3-5 p.m.
Cost: free
For more information: Visit www.theaudi.org or call 228-2793

Submit
Page to Stage welcomes submissions of new work to be considered for the program. E-mail info@concordcityauditorium.org or call 225-2164.

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