Hamilton-Gibson’s next One Night Stand is a landmark American comedy that has often intrigued audiences because of its unconventional plot, characters, and dialogue. The offbeat play is Edward Albee’s “The American Dream,” whose debut 55 years ago is regarded as the beginning of “the theatre of the absurd” movement in America.
The Hamilton-Gibson production of this one-act play, under the direction of Larry Biddison, will be staged in readers theatre format in the Warehouse Theatre on Central Avenue in Wellsboro. In this form of presentation actors read from scripts, much as radio performers do, using their voices and gestures to bring the characters to life. “I’m very pleased with the cast,” said Biddison. “Rehearsals have been lively, and the characters are hilariously absurd.”
Absurdist plays dispense with conventional notions of character, plot, action, and setting in favor of deliberately unrealistic methods. The characters in “The American Dream,” for instance, have names that do not match reality. In the play “Mommy” isn’t a mother, “Daddy” isn’t a father, and “Grandma” isn’t a grandmother.
Although the 1960 production of “The American Dream” was generally well received, some critics attacked the play for its negativism. However, Albee defended his play as "an examination of the American Scene, an attack on the substitution of artificial for real values in our society, a condemnation of complacency, cruelty, emasculation, and vacuity; it is a stand against the fiction that everything in this slipping land of ours is peachy-keen."
The characters you’ll meet in the play are Grandma (Nancy Szabo), a wise-cracking old person who can’t remember whether she’s the mother of Mommy or of Daddy; Mommy (Cindy Evans), the household's sadistic disciplinarian; Daddy (Craig Evans), an emasculated masochist; Mrs. Barker (Mary Ginn), a “professional woman” from the Bye-Bye Adoption Agency; and Young Man (Jacob Ritter), the idealized perfect young man: aka, the American Dream.
The sole performance of Hamilton-Gibson’s readers theatre production of “The American Dream” will be at 7:30 on Friday, July 31, in the Warehouse Theatre on Central Avenue in Wellsboro. The admission price is a donation of your choice and includes the post-performance coffee and dessert discussion. For more information or to make reservations, call 570-724-2079 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
and join us for
One of the most magical things about theatre is its ability to transport you to other worlds. One minute you’re sitting in a darkened theatre; the next you’re whisked away to Renaissance Spain, or to 18th Century England, or to a New England clambake.
As part of its ongoing educational and cultural outreach mission, Hamilton-Gibson Productions will conduct its sixteenth annual three-day, three-play theatre trip to Stratford, Ontario, on October 2-4, 2015. The Stratford Festival of Canada, begun in 1953, is North America's largest and most celebrated classical repertory theatre, offering world-class theatre in a comfortable, friendly small city atmosphere.
The per-person package price of $450 includes Benedict's bus transportation, premium seating for the three plays, and two nights' accommodation (double occupancy) at a centrally located hotel catering to theatre-goers. Spaces can be reserved with a $125 per person deposit, with the balance payable in August. “This is a very popular outing,” according to H-G board member Larry Biddison, coordinator of the trip. “Besides experiencing world class theatre, participants always enjoy discovering interesting restaurants and shops as they explore Stratford's streets and lanes.”
Although October is several months away, Biddison insists that it isn't too early to plan for this trip. “The new Federal regulation requiring U.S. citizens entering the U.S. from Canada to have a U.S. Passport or Passport Card was implemented last year. So if you’re considering this trip and don’t have a current passport, be sure you apply for one right away.” Passports are currently priced at $100 and Passport Cards are $45 for adults and $35 for children under 16. Estimated turn-around time is currently 4-8 weeks. “Start at the Prothonotary’s office at the Court House in Wellsboro,” advises Biddison.
This year’s excursionists will see performances in two of Stratford's mainstage theatres. Love’s Labour’s Lostwill be staged in the Festival Theatre; She Stoops to Conquer and Carousel will be staged in the Avon Theatre.
Shakespeare wrote Love’s Labour’s Lost for Queen Elizabeth I in the 1590s. In this comedy, four young men swear off women to devote themselves to learning—only to fall for four attractive newcomers. Shakespeare’s language reaches its most virtuosic heights in a vivacious comedy that will dazzle and delight.
Oliver Goldsmith’s “laughing comedy,” She Stoops to Conquer, was first performed in 1773 and has remained popular to this day. Initially the play was titled Mistakes of a Night, and indeed, the events within the play take place in one long night. The gentleman Kate desires is too shy to talk to her—until he mistakes her for a barmaid. Can she make him love her for who she really is? From the elegant 18th century comes a classic comedy that will delight the whole family.
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel, was a Broadway hit in1945. Far ahead of its time in confronting the issues at the heart of a troubled relationship, this wrenching musical drama features a luscious score that includes “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” “If I Loved You” and “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over.”
The Fesitval Theatre, the largest of the three Stratford Festival stages, is in itself a spectacle and, for some, a shrine. Designed by Tanya Mosieiwitsch for the inaugural 1953 season, its unique thrust stage was first used for a production of Shakespeare's Richard III, directed by Sir Tyrone Guthrie and starring Alex Guinness. Since then, many now famous actors of stage, film, and television have performed there: Jeremy Brett, Hume Cronyn, Lorne Greene, Tammy Grimes, Julie Harris, Michael Learned, James Mason, Roberta Maxwell, Christopher Plummer, Paul Scofield, William Shatner, Jessica Tandy, Peter Ustinov, and many more.
The Avon Theatre, a restored vaudeville and movie house with a proscenium stage, is perfect for more conventionally produced plays. Although entirely modernized, its traditional design, complete with orchestra pit, reminds audiences of the older Broadway theatres in New York City or of city movie palaces of earlier generations.
Stratford lies 300 miles north of Wellsboro, about a six-hour drive. This small city combines country charm with urban amenities, pleasing visitors not only with its hospitality but also with its picturesque setting. No one ever forgets the graceful swans on the AvonRiver, which flows placidly beneath the willows of Queen's Park, past the Festival Theatre and into the downtown shopping district of quaint Victorian buildings. Information about the city and the plays are available on the web at www.stratfordfestival.ca.
The Stratford Trip is open to all interested adults (and to children accompanied by adults—all with valid passports—on a first-come basis. Space is limited; the bus is over half full at this time. Reservations ($125 deposit per person) are required. For more information or to indicate interest or make reservations, contact Larry Biddison at 570-724-4586or email@example.com.
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