Tag Archive | "Quogue"

“Harvey” Watches Over The Hampton Theatre Company

Tags: , , , , , ,


John Kern and Matthew Conlon.  TOM KOCHIE photo.

John Kern and Matthew Conlon. TOM KOCHIE photo.

By Annette Hinkle

This weekend, the Hamptons Theatre Company kicks off its 30th anniversary season with a production of “Harvey,” Mary Chase’s 1945 Pulitzer Prize winning comedy.

Which may help explain why last week, director Diana Marbury was running around like crazy hunting down a seemingly random list of unrelated items.

“I’m looking for Zippo lighters and a 1940s chair — it can be older than the 1940s, just not newer,” explained Ms. Marbury who, after nearly 30 years of association with HTC, freely admits to having several “starring sofas” in her home of various styles.

“My house is very eclectic,” she confides.

Chalk it up to another day in the life of a small town community theater company —one in which all involved jump in to do what it takes to get the job done — including the play’s director, for whom it isn’t unusual to be scouring the area for props.

“We all wear so many hats in the theater, it’s such a small group of people who make this happen,” says Ms. Marbury, who is also HTC’s artistic director. “It’s a miracle really.”

When HTC began, it was a community theater without a real home. Instead, productions were presented wherever space could be found. These days, the HTC is the resident theater at the Quogue Community Hall and the company now produces five shows between October and June. Because of its commitment to the community, the company has developed a loyal following and audiences appreciates the fact that HTC sticks around long after the summer folks flee for the winter.

“When we’re coming to the end of one show, we’re auditioning for the next,” says Ms. Marbury. “With the instant gratification people get these days through channel surfing, theater has fallen a bit by the wayside for many people. We’ve been very fortunate because the theater, as it stands today, has a great group of supporters who come to see every show.”

If live theater is the antithesis to on-demand entertainment, then as a play, in many respects “Harvey” is similarly a throwback to simpler times.

Amanda Griemsmann, Pamela Kern and John J. Steele, Jr.  TOM KOCHIE photo.

Amanda Griemsmann, Pamela Kern and John J. Steele, Jr. TOM KOCHIE photo.

“We thought this play was appropriate for the 30th season because it’s a wonderful classic,” says Ms. Marbury. “People are familiar mainly with the movie version, but plays are just so more intimate than film. People feel more of a connection in theater than film.”

“This is a very appealing play because it has such wonderful characters in it,” explains Ms. Marbury. “The basic story is very endearing and touching.”

The play tells the story of Elwood P. Dowd (played in this production by Matthew Conlon) a good natured, but somewhat eccentric man whose constant companion is an invisible six-foot rabbit named “Harvey” which, in Celtic mythology, is what would be referred to as pooka, something like a spirit animal.

“The idea is that you have this being watching over you and letting you know what’s happening next and how it affects the various people around you,” explains Ms. Marbury. “Elwood is kind of an everyman character. He’s very simplistic. He can never have too many friends and is very open to people. This spirit of Harvey has opened people up to him in terms of acceptance and makes people curious and open to discovery.”

As a result, Harvey becomes a devise used by Elwood to test the character of the people he encounters. Those willing to indulge Elwood’s fantasy by accepting the existence of Harvey prove themselves as empathetic and compassion beings. But one individual definitely not amused by the presence of Harvey is Elwood’s own sister Veta (played by Pamela Kern). She worries that Elwood’s over-active imagination will scare away potential suitors for her daughter Myrtle Mae (played by Amanda Griemsmann). As a result, Veta seeks to have her brother committed.

“‘Harvey’ is a test of sorts,” notes Ms. Marbury. “Watching the effects of Harvey on all the various people Elwood encounters is fascinating. There’s this wonderful spirit of being able to be free and not so be so based in reality all the time.”

The play comes to a head at the sanitarium where Elwood is taken to be “cured” of his rabbit delusions. When the medical professionals assure Veta they can make Elwood “normal” with a simple injection, Veta realizes that Elwood, even with his delusional flaws, is at heart a far better human being than most of those whom society would label normal. It’s an endearing message of love and acceptance that Ms. Marbury thinks the audience will appreciate.

“It’s a very warm human story and very simple,” she says. “It’s not a big body farce, it’s a kind of feel good play that warms the heart and brings a big smile to your face. Hopefully there will also be a lot of good laughs.”

Hampton Theatre Company’s production of “Harvey” runs October 23 to November 9 at the Quogue Community Hall, 125 Jessup Avenue. Shows are Thursdays and Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. The Hampton Theatre Company offers special dinner and theater packages in collaboration with the Southampton, Westhampton Beach, Hampton Bays and Quogue libraries. Tickets are $25 ($10 students). Visit hamptontheatre.org for tickets or more information or call OvationTix at 1-866-811-4111.

The cast also includes John Kern, Sebastian Marbury, Krista Kurtzberg, Russell Weisenbacher, John J. Steele, Jr., Doug O’Connor, Catherine Maloney and Martha Kelly. Set design is by Sean Marbury with lighting design by Sebastian Paczynski and costumes by Teresa Lebrun.

 

 

East End Towns and Villages Pursue Regional Ban on Bags

Tags: , , , , , , ,


PIC DAVID CRUMP.TESCO PLASTIC BAGS

After much discussion and gentle encouragement from local sustainability committees, the mayors and supervisors of several East End municipalities announced today they would pursue a coordinated effort to implement a regional ban on single-use plastic bags by Earth Day, April 22, 2015.

Elected officials from Southampton, East Hampton, Riverhead, Sag Harbor, Sagaponack, North Haven, West Hampton Dunes and Quogue agreed to either hold work sessions on the subject or to introduce the legislation within the month, in order to seek out public comment.

“Environmental protection is always a priority for the Village of Sag Harbor, and the proposed ban would be yet another measure to help ensure our beaches, woods and waterways are protected from one of the most common and detrimental forms of litter.  If we can implement the initiative on a larger, regional scale, it will only be more beneficial,” said Sag Harbor Village Mayor Brian Gilbride.

“Worldwide, the accumulation of plastic pollutes miles upon miles of shoreline and extends to all depths of the sea, harming our environment and ourselves, as well as marine and other wildlife.  Without this regional effort among local towns and villages, the plastic bags targeted by this initiative would only continue the detrimental build-up of litter across the East End and beyond,” said East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell.

North Haven Village Mayor Jeff Sanders added, “The Village of North Haven lends its full support to the plastic bag ban effort and urges other municipalities to do the same.”

“Harvey” Opens Hampton Theatre Company’s 30th Anniversary Season

Tags: , , ,


harvey-patron

Elwood P. Dowd is coming to Quogue.

The role that helped shape the career of Jimmy Stewart will be featured as the Hampton Theatre Company’s opening production of its 30th anniversary season with “Harvey,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic comedy by Mary Chase about the hilarious havoc wrought by a 6-foot tall rabbit who is visible to only a few. The show will run October 23 to November 9 at Quogue Community Hall.

The play, which ran for 1,775 performances on Broadway from 1944 to 1949 before being adapted for a movie of the same name in 1950, is the story of Mr. Dowd, an affable if a bit eccentric fellow who is eager to introduce his invisible rabbit friend to everyone he sees.

The role of Elwood P. Dodd will be played in Quogue by Matthew Conlon, last seen on the HTC stage in the title role of “The Foreigner” in the spring. Pamela Kern, a veteran of four HTC productions, plays Elwood’s sister, Veta Louise Simmons, and a newcomer to the Quogue stage, Amanda Griemsmann, plays Veta’s daughter, Myrtle Mae. The staff at the local sanitarium, Chumley’s Rest, is headed up by John Kern in the role of Dr. Chumley and HTC veteran Sebastian Marbury as Dr. Lyman Sanderson. Krista Kurtzberg, who also appeared in “The Foreigner,” plays Nurse Kelly, and Russell Weisenbacher plays the orderly Duane Wilson.

The production will be directed by HTC artistic director Diana Marbury.

“Harvey” runs at the Quogue Community Hall from October 23 through November 9, with shows on Thursdays and Fridays at 7, Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 2:30. The Hampton Theatre Company will again be offering special dinner and theater packages in collaboration with the Southampton, Westhampton Beach, Hampton Bays and Quogue libraries. Information about the dinner and theater packages is available on the company website, hamptontheatre.org, or through the libraries.

After 23 Years, the Hampton Theatre Company Revives “The Foreigner”

Tags: , , , , , , ,


The Hampton Theatre Company in "The Foreigner." Courtesy of director Sarah Hunnewell.

Krista Kurtzberg, Ben Schnickel, Matthew Conlon and Diana Marbury in “The Foreigner.” Photo by Tom Kochie.

 

By Tessa Raebeck

After a widely successful run in 1991, “The Foreigner” will return to Quogue this month as the Hampton Theatre Company revives of one of its greatest hits.

“This show is just a very, very funny comedy, which we did 23 years ago with huge, huge sell-out success and so we decided, 23 years later, to revive it,” said HTC executive director Sarah Hunnewell, who is directing the play this time around.

“The Foreigner,” written by the late playwright Larry Shue, will run from March 13 through March 30 at the Quogue Community Hall.

It is the best-known play by Mr. Shue, a promising young playwright and actor who died in a plane crash at the pinnacle of his success in 1985. At the time of his death, two of Mr. Shue’s productions, “The Foreigner” and “The Nerd,” were enjoying successful runs both in London and New York, he was gearing up to make his Broadway debut as an actor and he was working on a screenplay of “The Foreigner” with Disney.

“It’s a silly play, but it has a lot of cards and it actually says some nice things about life and people and all that kind of stuff—but it’s wildly entertaining at the same time,” said Ms. Hunnewell.

Unhappy with his life, Charlie, a shy and awkward Englishman, is brought to a quaint fishing lodge in the middle of rural, backwoods Georgia by his friend Froggy.

“He basically, at the beginning, thinks he should never have come and is completely horrified with the fact that he’s there and he’s horrified by this seedy, peculiar fishing lodge in the rural south,” the director said.

Rather than adapting to his surroundings, Charlie decides to pretend to be a non-English speaking foreigner and invents a strange dialect so that no one will talk to him.

Diana Marbury and Matthew Conlon in "The Foreigner." Photo by Tom Kochie.

Diana Marbury and Matthew Conlon in “The Foreigner.” Photo by Tom Kochie.

“That’s sort of the comic premise of the play, the fact that he politically doesn’t speak any English,” Ms. Hunnewell said.

About to abandon his role-playing, Charlie gets stuck in his position when those around him begin to spill their secrets in front of him under the assumption he knows no English. Upon discovering an evil plot, Charlie must expose it without also exposing his own cover.

“It’s just a lovely, very fun piece and we’ve got a wonderful cast who are a joy to work with and all very talented,” said Ms. Hunnewell, who has directed all but two of the actors before.

Matthew Conlon is returning to the HTC stage after a near 20-year hiatus to play the lead role of Charlie. “It’s a nice fit, it’s like going home to that theater,” said Mr. Conlon of his return to the Quogue stage.

“The character is just like an outsider. It’s an outsider story about someone who finds himself through the challenge of having to extend himself to other people,” said Mr. Conlon. “At its heart, it’s sort of a sublime foolishness, but it has a heart to it. There’s something about this play that’s very sweet and real.”

Longtime HTC members Diana Marbury and James Ewing are reprising the roles they played in the original production, with Ms. Marbury as the naïve innkeeper Betty Meeks and Mr. Ewing as “this nasty southern stereotype guy,” Owen Musser, said Ms. Hunnewell.

“Jim is having a wild time, he loves his character. He plays the bad guy—which is always very fun to do,” Ms. Hunnewell said.

“It’s always interesting to come back to a role and just revisit it and see how it changed,” said Ms. Marbury. “You have different casts, so the other people involved in the show bring a different dynamic to the play itself—and, consequently, to you and your character. So, each time it’s a very fresh kind of piece.”

Other HTC veterans include Joe Pallister as the complicated Reverend David Marshall Lee, Terry Brockbank as the cheerful Froggy and Ben Shnickel as Ellard Sims, “sort of the comic character because he’s very dumb,” according to Ms. Hunnewell.

“Our new Ellard is just a charming young man that has done some work with us and really has quite a good grip on the character,” Ms. Marbury said of Mr. Shnickel.

James Ewing and Matthew Conlon in "The Foreigner." Photo by Tom Kochie.

James Ewing and Matthew Conlon in “The Foreigner.” Photo by Tom Kochie.

Newcomer Krista Kurtzberg plays the beautiful young debutante Catherine Simms. A native of Georgia, Ms. Kurtzberg is “a great addition in terms of getting our accents right,” said Ms. Hunnewell.

Primarily a drama director, Ms. Hunnewell has found a welcome challenge in directing comedy, especially with her cast of friends and longtime collaborators.

“The actors in a comedy have to just be good comic actors because you cannot teach comedy. Comedy is all about timing, delivery and timing, and if you haven’t got it, you haven’t got it,” she said.

“The challenges of doing this kind of comedy for me are to play it as truthfully as possible,” added Mr. Conlon. “This character, Charlie Baker, is funny because of situation and circumstances. I don’t think he’s trying to be funny, I think it comes. So for me, it’s to really find the values and the moment-to-moment reality that allow the play to be funny.”

“There just has to always be truth in the character, and as long as the character is real, the comedy or the drama come out of that,” said Ms. Marbury. “One of the tricky parts is not just playing for laughs, so the laughs come out of the truth of the character and also the dialogue—the premise itself.”

“The Foreigner” will run from March 13 through March 30, on Thursdays and Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. at the Quogue Community Hall, 125 Jessup Avenue in Quogue. Tickets are $25 for adults, $23 for seniors (except on Saturdays) and $10 for students under 21. The Hampton Theatre Company is offering special dinner and theater packages in collaboration with the Southampton, Westhampton Beach, Hampton Bays and Quogue libraries. For more information or to make reservations, call 866-811-4111 or visit here.

Hampton Theatre Company to Hold Auditions for “God of Carnage”

Tags: , , , , , , ,


unnamed-2

By Tessa Raebeck

The Hampton Theatre Company in Quogue will hold open auditions for two of the four roles in “God of Carnage,” an award-winning volatile comedy written by Yasmina Reza.

The play, according to the company, “reveals how quickly and disastrously the thin veneer of civility can be stripped away when two sets of parents attempt to discuss a confrontation between their sons.”

The roles of Michael Novak (in his 40s to 50s) and his wife Veronica Novak (in her 40s) are available. Diana Marbury will direct “God of Carnage.” Rehearsals begin in mid-April and performances run from May 22 through June 8 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons at the Quogue Community Hall.

Auditions will be held on Sunday, March 23 and Monday, March 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Quogue Community Hall, 125 Jessup Avenue in Quogue. Readings at the auditions will be from the script, with no monologue or appointment necessary. Contact info@hamptontheatre.org or call 917-532-4440 for more information, or visit here.