Shaker Bridge Theatre To Open With Outside Mullingar
Shaker Bridge Theatre in Enfield NH will open its 12th season with Outside Mullingar, a Tony Award nominee for Best Play, written by John Patrick Shanley, author of Doubt and Moonstruck.
The play is set in rural Ireland, with neighboring farmers, Anthony and Rosemary, working out their romantic (or not) feelings for one another. Charles Isherwood, theater critic for the New York Times, called this play Shanley's "finest work since Doubt."
Though set an ocean away, the play may have particular relevance to finding love in the Upper Valley. One critic said that this play simply would not have worked with characters living in the Big City, but "by placing them in a rural setting where dating options are considerably more limited . . . he makes their plight more credible. . ."
Shaker Bridge’s Artistic Director and Founder Bill Coons, who will direct Outside Mullingar, is eager to get into rehearsals and says this of Shanley’s work. “It is filled with characters who have a kind of desperate nobility in spite of their circumstances. It shows the terror that accompanies the search for some kind of completeness, for some way to fill the soul. It’s a fear that they will die if they’re not loved. For these people, it is necessary to search for that even though the risks are enormous. I love watching people walk so close to the edge. It’s also a very funny play.”
Here is the lineup for Shaker Bridge's upcoming season:
· Outside Mullingar by John Patrick Shanley, October 11-28, 2018
· Over the Tavern by Tom Dudzick, December 6-23
· Dry Powder by Sarah Burgess, February 7-24, 2019
· The Taming by Lauren Gunderson, March 28 – April 14, 2019
· Women in Jeopardy by Wendy MacLeod, May 2-19, 2019
After being asked and dismissing my inquiry about whether there was a theme for the season, Coons stated:
“The actual reason for choosing these particular plays is a simple one. Early last spring (when I am typically starting to make these decisions) I wrote down the names of all of the actors I couldn’t wait to work with again. Then I looked again at all of the scripts (well over a hundred) that made up the “possible” pile and picked scripts that would give me the opportunity to work with as many of these remarkably talented people as possible. I didn’t get to everyone on the list, but I came pretty close.
I also selected plays that would honor the committment that I made a couple of seasons ago to have parity with men and women playwrights. In a two-season cycle I will have at least as many plays written by women as by men. In terms of regional theatres, the percentage of plays produced by female playwrights still hovers around twenty-five percent, but this theatre will get to parity. It’s a ratio that has been unbalanced for over two thousand years and that has deprived us of some wonderful and important stories.”
The fact that this season’s plays are all comedic? “Coincidental.”
(Featured photo, top: Amy Hutchins and Michael Stewart Allen return to Shaker Bridge Theatre to kick off the 2018-2019 season, October 11-28, when they perform in Outside Mullingar. The couple starred in Constellations last season at the Shaker Bridge Theatre. Photo courtesy of Shaker Bridge Theatre)
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