Arts Calendar: Theater in Southern Vermont
WILLIAMSVILLE The Rock River Players (RRP) offer four performances in May of David Mamet’s Oleanna. Written in 1992, inspired by the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill Senate hearings yet well before the #MeToo era, the succinct three-act play detonates the fury of sexual politics through a power struggle between a male college professor and a female student. Twenty-seven years later, the subject could not be more relevant.
According to director Bahman Mahdavi, “As with all great works of art, nothing is simple in this story. The characters are complex and flawed, sincere and manipulative. The playwright has been quoted as saying he wants to make his audience members choose as they squirm and hyperventilate over the onstage fireworks. The goal is ultimately to create debate and discussion.”
There is much in Oleanna that rings frighteningly true: a smug professor, enamored with his own oratory prowess, dismissive of a struggling student; students trying to shut down a class because the professor's reading list is "questionable,” and, most notably, a shift in the balance of power between the generations and the sexes, using language as their ammunition and tool for winning power over one and another.
Mahdavi explains, “For my directorial debut, I chose a play with only two characters depicting human conflicts and exploring how we act when we are put in a situation where we have no control. The play is not a code for some deeper feelings; it's not an elaborate attempt to say anything other than what it says. It’s primarily about language --its power, its limitations, and who controls it. David Mamet, one of the greatest American playwrights, has a clipped, precisely-crafted style of diction leaving no room for error nor improvisation. Like a classical music score where everything is in the execution.”
Oleanna features Jon Mack and Rebecca Musgrove. Dody Riggs assists, Miles Keefe is on lights.
Performances are May 17-18, 8pm, at the Williamsville Hall, Dover Road, Williamsville, VT and May 24-25, 8pm at the Hooker-Dunham Theatre, 139 Main St., Brattleboro. Tickets--$10, $8 for students and seniors--will be available at the door; order on line at williamsvillehall.com.
Rock River Players, a 501c3 non-profit theatre collaborative, grows on the inspiration and initiative of those who wish to see the lively arts thrive in the West River Valley.
5/17/19 8:00pm - 5/25/19 8:00pm
Williamsville Hall, Williamsville
The Rock River Players (RRP) offer four performances in May of David Mamet’s Oleanna.
Written in 1992, inspired by the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill Senate hearings yet well before the #MeToo era, the succinct three-act play detonates the fury of sexual politics through a power struggle between a male college professor and a female student. Twenty-seven years later, the subject could not be more relevant.
5/24/19 8:00pm - 5/25/19 10:30pm
Hooker Dunham Theater, Brattleboro
The Dorset Players will bring down the curtain on their 91st anniversary season with Oklahoma!, considered one of the seminal musicals in Broadway history. Performances will be at the Dorset Playhouse on May 17-18 and May 24-25 at 7:30 PM and on May 19 and 26 at 2 PM.
The first collaboration of legendary Lyricist Richard Rodgers and Librettist Oscar Hammerstein II, the show was a game-changer when it took Broadway by storm when it opened in 1943. Memorable songs such as “Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin’,” “People Will Say We’re In Love,” and “Oklahoma!, rather than just providing filler, advanced the story of a cowboy, Curly, who falls for a farm girl, Laurey, against the backdrop of prairie life in the Indian Territory, circa 1907.
Over the past four months, Director Suzi Dorgeloh, Musical Director Tom Salmon and Choreographer Kelly Gaiotti, have marshaled a talented cast of 23 from 17 area towns in Vermont and New York. Newcomer Josh Bond takes the lead as Curly, while Danielle Houston who last appeared with The Players in the 2014 production of Miracle on 34th Street, is Laurey. Dana Haley, who wowed audiences in The Players’ production I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, sashays in as Ado Annie - the girl “who cain’t say no.” Two actors fresh from leading roles in The Players’ Witness for the Prosecution, are Joe Mozer, as Will Parker, who does his utmost to romance Ado Annie and Drew Davidson who portrays the tortured Jud Fry, who pines for Laurey and cannot have her. Aunt Eller is played by Caren McVicker, who is also new to the Dorset stage.
The balance of the cast is peppered with new and familiar faces to Dorset audiences, including Christy Vogel, Richard Grip, Chris Restino, Billy Jamieson, Dan Silver, Errol Hill, Bill Cruikshank, Michael Gallagher, Lily Gallagher, Zachary Barnett, Bob Fogelgren, Sara Gregory, Maeve Keeton, Laura King, Lily Butler, Ginny Edinger, and Annie Nash.
Tickets can be purchased on-line at www.dorsetplayers.org, in person, or by calling (802) 867-5777. Oklahoma! is proudly sponsored by Above All Vermont, The Barn Restaurant, Errol L. Hill Painting, La Peche Lingerie, RK Miles, Southern Vermont Medical Center, Bob & Martha Schoenemann, Spivey, Lemonik Swenor, PC, and The Wilburton Inn.
5/17/19 7:30pm - 5/26/19 4:30pm
Dorset Playhouse, 104 Cheney Rd Dorset, Dorset