Chester Theatre Company will present its 19th summer season from July 2nd through August 24th, featuring plays by David Harrower, John Cariani, Morris Panych, and Susan Eve Haar. “I think CTC patrons are going to find this season truly exciting,” states CTC Artistic Director Byam Stevens. “While the plays manifest a broad range of styles, from family drama to comic romance, they share a remarkably high standard of writing – they really are representative of the best in contemporary theatre.”
Blackbird by David Harrower – July 2-13
The season opens on July 2nd with David Harrower’s Blackbird, winner of the 2007 Olivier Award for Best New Play. This scorching new work opens with a young woman, Una, arriving unannounced at Ray’s office. They had a passionate affair 15 years ago; he was 41, she was 12. Ray, after a stretch in prison, has a new identity and a new life. Una is the only one who knows his secret. What ensues is both a high stakes thriller and a tragic love story, a pas-de-deux of shame, regret and passion.
Harrower’s riveting play is theater at its most elemental: a head-to-head confrontation that uncovers the shattering truth of an abandoned and unconventional love. The New York Times hailed Blackbird as “the most powerful drama of the season… mesmerizing… extraordinary…a miracle.” Sheila Siragusa, who directed the 2007 CTC hit Mercy of a Storm, returns to helm this production which runs through July 13th.
Almost, Maine by John Cariani – July 16-27
John Cariani’s magical comic romance Almost, Maine, running July 16-27, provides a complete change of pace. The setting: a cold, clear, moonless winter night; the premise: something strange is happening to the hardworking men and women of the mythical town of Almost, Maine — they’re falling in and out of love in unexpected ways.
Cariani sprinkles his midwinter night’s dream with a flurry of bittersweet magic realism – a woman carries her broken heart in a bag, a misspelled tattoo predicts the future, odd things fall from the heavens – and the result is an ode to the joys and perils of romance. According to The New York Times, in Almost, Maine “Magical happenings bloom beneath the snowdrifts.”
The Dishwashers by Morris Panych – July 30- August 10
The Dishwashers by Canadian playwright Morris Panych, runs July 30 – August 10. CTC Artistic Director Byam Stevens will direct this outrageously funny theatrical fable in which Chief Dishwasher Dressler presides over the basement scullery of an upscale eatery, marshaling his forces with a stream of Marxist rhetoric, Ayn Rand-inspired ravings and old fashioned working class pride.
Unfortunately, his fellow wage slaves, the ancient Moss and the downwardly mobile Emmett, fail to fall into step. Canadian playwright Morris Panych brings his inimitable style – walking the razor’s edge between comedy and tragedy – to the plight of men working in the lower depths of a high end restaurant. The Vancouver Sun described The Dishwashers as, “Funny, sad, strange and uplifting, sometimes in the same breath.” Stevens’ productions for CTC include: Grace, Two Rooms, An Almost Holy Picture, Tea For Three, Valley Song, The Interrogation of Nathan Hale, Shirley Valentine and the world premieres of The Plains of Ilion, The Darlings and John and Teddy.
Tilted House by Susan Eve Haar – August 13-24
The season closes with the World Premiere of Tilted House by Susan Eve Haar, running August 13 – 24. Annie and Robert and their son Henry have taken a beach house on Fire Island. Robert, an ambitious editor has invited Clay, a famous novelist, to visit in hopes of landing the writer’s next opus.
When Clay accepts and takes up residence, the family is plunged into a world of dangerous games that beget passion and betrayal, and call into question choices made long ago. Haar, whose satire The Darlings highlighted the 2003 CTC season, has switched gears completely to deliver an adult drama that extolls the ultimate power of family.
Tickets are available on Chester Theatre Company’s website.
To receive a brochure, contact the box office at 413-354-7771. Performances are Wednesday through Saturday at 8:00pm., with matinees Thursday and Sunday at 2:00pm. Tickets are $24.50-$29.50; group rates are available.