Strollers Theatre 1997-1998 Season
- After-Play. directed by Sarah Whelan. September 4-14, 1997, at the Madison Civic Center Spotlight Room.
- Picnic, directed by Jeff Knupp. November 13-22, 1997, at Oakwood Village Theatre.
- Camping With Henry and Tom. directed by Leo Cooper. January 8-31, 1998, at Brave Hearts Theatre.
- Jacques Brel is Alive and Well & Living in Paris, directed by David Lawver. March 19-28, 1998, at the Madison Civic Center Starlight.
- The Woman in Black, directed by Robert Kimbrough. April 30 - May 9, 1998, at Oakwood Village Theatre.
By Anne Meara
Directed by Sarah Whelan
Set in what appears to be a chic Manhattan restaurant, the play opens with an ethereal waiter preparing for the arrival of a party of four. The two middle-aged couples, Marty and Terry, and Renee and Phil, old friends reuniting after three years, have just seen a new Broadway play. Discussing the play and playing catch-up leads to little arguments and major differences of opinion. A third couple, Emily and Matt, stop by the table and are convinced to stay for a nightcap even though Emily has already had too much to drink. The nightcap sends her over the edge, and when the recent death of her son is brought up, the uncomfortable situation is made worse. The ugliness of the moment is not lost on the other four, all of whom are deeply affected. Having shared painful secrets and made new discoveries about one another, the four put their disagreements behind them and forge ahead in friendship until the next time.
Presented at the Madison Civic Center in the Spotlight Room
Sept 4-6, 11-14, 1997
By William Inge
Directed by Jeff Knupp
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, "Picnic" takes place in the joint backyards of two middleaged, small town women, both long deserted by their husbands. One has an invalid mother, and the other two maturing duaghters and a boarder who is a spinster school teacher. Into this congested female atmosphere there comes a young man of neither polish nor promise, whose animal vitality seriously upsets the entire group. The mother is sensitiviely warey of temptations for her children. One daughter, bored with being only a beauty, sacrifiecs her chance at a wealthy marriage for the excitement the visitor promises. Her sister finds her balance for the first time through a wayfarer's brief attention, and the spinster is stirred to make an issue out of the dangling courtship that has brightened her life in a dreary, minor way.
"'Picnic' is not a play with a happy ending - it's a play in which a couple of people, God help them, get what they want." The New Yorker
Presented at the Oakwood Village Theatre
November 13-15, 20-22, 1997
By Mark St. Germaine
In 1921, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and President Harding took a camping trip together to escape civilization. What they couldn't escape was each other. This is an exploration of friendship, politics and leadership; a comedic and dramatic clash of two great minds and one great heart of the 20th century.
Presented at the Brave Hearts Theatre
January 8-10, 15-17, 22-24, 29-31, 1998
By Eric Blau & Mort Shuman
Directed by David Lawver
With total honesty and heartfelt emotion, "Jacques Brel..." defies definition. Although a musical revue in its broadest sense, for two decades the 25 songs of Brel presented in this work have created a universe particular to each separate production far transcending a mere collection of songs. It is a piece of theatre that affects everyone who comes in contact with it. You may be saddened or uplifted, disturbed or confronted, but you cannot be untouched by it.
"Brel's songs reach your ear, but his life reaches your heart... it's a crystalline and incandescent evening." Time Magazine
Presented at Brave Hearts
Thur Fri Sat Sun March 6
Presented in the Starlight at the Madison Civic Center
Thur Fri Sat March 19
Adapted by Stephen Mallatratt, from the book by Susan Hill
Directed by Robert Kimbrough
"A brilliantly effective spine-chiller without a trace of self-mocking absurdity. The narrative is gripping." Guardian, London
Presented at the Oakwood Village Theatre, 6201 Mineral Point Road
Thur Fri Sat April 30
General admission tickets are $9.00. Call 238-8183 for reservations.
Ed Maxcy, Craig Johnson and Kathleen Conklin
"The Woman In Black"
"The expression on her face ... desperate hate and yearning malevolence ... filled me with indescribable loathing and fear. And she vanished in a way that no living human being could possibly manage to do. (Pause.) I do not believe in ghosts."
And because we do none of us believe in ghosts, at least not after we've checked and rechecked the Ghost Light, Robert Kimbrough nearly ignores the ghost play in his direction of The Woman in Black for Strollers Theatre. Plays about ghosts demand an extraordinary suspension of disbelief which is increasingly unlikely in an audience steeped in and even raised on the instantaneous images of the flickering television and special 'fx' of cinema. Nearly any theatrical convention of portraying ghosts is in danger of being so corny as to remind us of schoolgirl days when we stood in the darkened grade school bathroom and tried to conjure up the image of Mary Martin in the mirror, only to see our own faces and run screaming into the blinding bright hall. Kimbrough's decision, then, to concentrate on the play outside the play outside the play, is the thing.
The framing play is about a retired London solicitor (lawyer), Arthur Kipps, who has rented a theater and hired an Actor to help him re-enact and thereby exorcise himself of a ghostly event which occurred 40 years earlier. The Actor first coaches Kipps on how to act, then takes for himself the role of Kipps in the harrowing and tragic story of Kipps' life which is the second play. Kipps, the non-actor actor, plays six different roles relevant to the tragic tale. And the tale, the third play, is really that of Jennet Humfrye, the Woman in Black, who continues to avenge her loss with a persistent malevolence which has so far spanned three-quarters of a century. Well.
"Nothing so blood-curdling and becreepered and crude, so laughable" as a ghost-story, Kimbrough's emphasis on the frame story is more about the creation of theater than thriller. He has rejected the light and sound plots of the London script licensed to Strollers Theatre in favor of collaboration with Chris Barker and Ted Meland on light and sound which move the story from the empty-theater rehearsal space through the wail of a child and screams of his mother to the sea-tides of the wild marsh and an isolated manor, Eel Marsh House.
What results is a quite sophisticated exploration of the paradoxes of the theater. Theater cannot be realized without an audience and this one will witness not just the emotional transformation of the two actors, but the stark mechanics of the theater itself. And if they watch carefully, they may see the ghost, that most effective metaphor for the merger of illusion and reality which is theater.
Strollers Theatre 1996-1997 Season
Death Defying Acts, directed by Kelli Clement. September 1996, at the Madison Civic Center Spotlight Room.
Amadeus, directed by Jeff Knupp. October 31-November 9, 1996, at Oakwood Village Theatre.
Buried Child, directed by Leo Cooper. January 30-February 22, 1997, at Brave Hearts Theatre.
The Sisters Rosensweig, directed by David Lawver. March 13-22, 1997, at the Madison Civic Center Starlight Room.
Laughter on the 23rd Floor. May 8-17, 1997, at the Madison Civic Center Starlight Room.
By Sam Shepard
Directed by Leo Cooper
Pulitzer-winning gothic farce about the disintegration of the American dream, set against the barely suppressed violence and unease of a squalid family farmstead. The revised version of the 1979 play, which hit Broadway last summer to much acclaim after a trial run at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre. This is the first midwest staging of the revised play by a community theater.
Presented at Brave Hearts Theatre, 1988 Atwood Avenue
8 pm, Thursday through Saturday, January 30 through February 22
By Wendy Wasserstein
Directed by David Lawver
A warmly eccentric comedy about three sisters from Brooklyn who meet in London to celebrate the eldest sister's birthday and to reexamine their life choices amidst a few tears and many laughs.
This production will mark the first presentation of live theater in the Civic Center's new Starlight Room.
March 13-15 and 20-22
By Neil Simon
Directed by Sam White
A hilarious behind-the-scenes look at the author's early days in showbiz when he worked as a junior jokesmith for Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows.
Presented at the Madison Civic Center in the Starlight Room
May 8-10 and 15-17