The Power of 2 at Shaker Bridge, Northern Stage

Some couples work together. Amy Hutchins and Michael Stewart Allen are among them. They are scheduled to open in Outside Mullingar, Shaker Bridge Theatre's first production of the 2018-19 season.

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It's not the first time this pair, married since 2007, has shared the stage. In fact, it’s the 6th time they have appeared together. Last year, they co-starred in Shaker Bridge's Constellations. Hutchins remembers that "the hardest part of working on Constellations together was the opening scene where the characters are meeting each other for the very first time, and we had to pretend like we didn't know each other." Mullingar is somewhat different; it's a comedy about two individuals who have known each other all of their lives.  It's their awkwardness that has kept them from any declarations of love.

Shaker Bridge Theatre in Enfield NH is an intimate space where according to Allen, "there is nowhere to hide. . . . with the audience right there and the actor just two or three feet away. . . You have to paint with a fine brush because the audience can see and examine every emotion, facial expression, and reaction. Every actor wants to perform like that." Audiences also tend to appreciate the proximity to the stage.

Meanwhile, at Northern Stage, there's a different kind of coupling dynamic, as Northern Stage opens the season with two plays: Oslo, a drama about the Oslo Peace Accords between the Palestinians and Israelis, and Dear Elizabeth, an unconventional love story about friendship between poets Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop.  Some actors will ping back and forth between the two productions. Two Northern Stage favorites, Susan Haefner and David Mason, will lead off as Bishop and Lowell, to be replaced on stage in later performances by Northern Stage's Producing Artistic Director Carol Dunne and Thom Miller.

Outside Mullingar opens at Shaker Bridge Theatre in Enfield NH on October 11. The official opening night for Oslo at Northern Stage in White River Junction VT was September 22; it will continue until October 21. Dear Elizabeth begins on October 4. For times and info and tickets, click here for Shaker Bridge's website, and here for Northern Stage.

(Photo of Amy Hutchins and Michael Stewart Allen, top, courtesy of Shaker Bridge Theatre.)


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