Zoom in: Goings on
Comedy, mystery, documentary
By Heidi Masek firstname.lastname@example.org
Art as catalyst
Three friends “debate the value” of a purchased artwork in the comedy Art.
“Very early on, we realize that what they’re really arguing over has less to do with art, and has more to do with how honest we really are or aren’t with our friendships,” said Deborah Shaw, who produces the play for Milford Area Players. “I think it is a very funny and very real look at how men in particular... interact with their male friends,” Shaw said.
Jason Plante directs Art, which runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. from March 19 through March 28, at the Amato Center for the Performing Arts, 56 Mont Vernon St. in Milford.
Art won a 1998 Tony Award for Best Play. Set in Paris in the 1980s, the Yazmina Reza play was translated from French by Christopher Hampton. Hampton also translated Reza’s God of Carnage, which won a 2009 Tony for Best Play. Art is a very accessible comedy with relatable humor, Shaw said. It requires a strong, talented male cast, Shaw said. Eliot Johnston, Rich Hurley, and Neal Blaiklock perform.
Tickets cost $7 and $12; buy them at Toadstool Bookshops, at www.MilfordAreaPlayers.org, or at the door. In keeping with the theme, MAP is raffling a family-level membership for the Currier Museum of Art, and a display of options for exploring visual and performing arts in New Hampshire will be in the lobby.
MAP was looking at ways to engage people in conversation about art. Shaw said often she finds if people talk about something subjective, they “might reveal more about themselves than about the subject they are discussing.”
Tom Lianza, president of Bedford Off Broadway, produces shows at the Bedford Old Town Hall and acts as technical director frequently, but he’s directing for the first time in 30 years for Laura.
Lianza stepped in after Bob Foster had to leave the post, Lianza wrote in an e-mail. Lianza wrote that he follows “Edward Albee’s (author: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Seascape) guidance about directors: ‘A director’s job is to hire the best actors possible, at that point, he is basically useless....’”
Scott Katrycz, Robert Lalime, Rick Nantel, Melanie Rodrique, Gary Evans, Terri Cadorette and Bill Gagnon perform in this mystery by Vera Caspary and George Sklar.
Mark McPherson (Katrycz) falls for the victim whose death he is investigating. However, when Laura is found to be alive and her best friend dead, McPherson is about to charge Laura. The 1944 film Laura came from Caspary’s novel. She wrote the play version after the film, because she was disturbed by the interpretation from director Otto Preminger, Lianza wrote.
“Caspary celebrated the ‘grand adventure of having been born a woman in this century of change,’ and in the play, Laura is far more voracious than the Laura in the movie,” Lianza wrote. Laura runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., from March 19 through March 27, at the Bedford Old Town Hall, 3 Meetinghouse Road in Bedford. Tickets cost $10 and $12 at the door. Visit www.bedfordoffbroadway.com or call 647-2864.
North Country tales
Last year, New Hampshire humorist Rebecca Rule (www.livefreeandeatpie.com) brought her one-woman adaptation of Crosscut to test at the Page to Stage series in Concord, hosted by the Friends of The Concord City Auditorium and supported by the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.
The Walker Lecture Fund presents her multi-media Crosscut Wednesday, March 24, at 7:30 p.m., at the Audi, 2 Prince St. in Concord. Admission is free.
While Rule is a humorist, Crosscut comes from a project collecting the stories of loggers, mill workers and families affected by paper mill closures. “There’s not a lot that’s funny about what’s going on in the North Country ... except, people are funny. People can find the humor in almost anything. What doesn’t kill you makes you laugh eventually,” Rule told the Hippo in 2009.
She spent “40 days and 40 nights” in 2007 recording stories of the memories, experiences and lives of about 40 people in Berlin, Milan and Gorham. The outcome included a four-character play. Rule tried out her more portable one-person adaptation at Page to Stage, but has not performed it since.
Rule’s one-person version was mainly Rule talking about what’s happening in Berlin, accompanied by projections of photos she took of those she interviewed, and images from the Beyond Brown Paper Project at Plymouth State University, Rule told the Hippo in 2009.
Stories in her March 24 show are streamlined, Rule wrote in an e-mail. Discussion about logging, the mills, paper-making, and life in the North Country is invited after the show.
Frumie Selchen, executive director of the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire, was heading an Androscoggin Valley Community Partners committee that wanted to do something unique to help Berlin. “They came up with the idea of preserving stories as way of healing,” Rule said. They asked Rule, and found funding to commission her. — Heidi Masek