As the summer’s theatre season moves forward, Barrington Stage Company (BSC), plans to take a look back in time to World War II and the days when simply being gay made you a worthless human being, no matter your contributions to society, or helping to win a war against fascism.
It’s just one more tough subject that is taken on by the award-winning theatre in Downtown Pittsfield, MA, under the leadership of Artistic Director Julianne Boyd and Managing Director Tristan Wilson.
The play is Breaking the Code, Hugh Whitemore’s biographical drama of Alan Turing, starring BSC Associate Artist Mark H. Dold. Directed by Joe Calarco, performances are from July 17 through August 2, with a press opening on Sunday, July 20 at 5pm.
Background of two wars
Breaking the Code is the true story of the famed mathematician and computer science pioneer Alan Turing, the primary designer of the Turing Machine, an early computer used to solve the German Enigma code during World War II. Many believed the Turing Machine was instrumental in the Allied victory. The title refers to both the solution of the Enigma code and Turing’s open admission to his homosexuality, which at the time violated not only the codes of polite society but also British law.
On December 23, 2013, Turing was given a posthumous royal pardon by Queen Elizabeth II, addressing his 1952 conviction for gross indecency following which he was given female hormones to suppress his sexual desires. He had been arrested after having an affair with a 19-year-old Manchester man. The conviction meant he lost his security clearance and had to stop the code-cracking work that had proved vital to the Allies in World War II. The pardon was granted under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy after a request by Justice Minister Chris Grayling.
In addition to Mark H. Dold as Alan Turing, also in the cast are Jefferson Farber (Ron Miller), Kyle Fabel (Mick Ross), Deborah Hedwell (Sara Turing), Annie Meisels (Pat Green), Mike Donovan (Christopher Morcom/Nikos), John Leonard Thompson (John Smith), and Phillip Kerr (Dillwyn Knox).
The production is designed by Brian Prather (sets), Jennifer Caprio (costumes), Chris Lee (lighting), and Lindsey Jones (sound). Michael Andrew Rogers is production stage manager.
Breaking the Code starred Derek Jacobi on stage and screen in the role of Alan Turing. Following a London run in 1986, the play had its NY premiere November 15, 1987 at Broadway’s Neil Simon Theatre. Jacobi recreated his role in a 1996 made-for-TV movie.
Breaking the Code is sponsored by Rhoda Herrick.
Mark H. Dold has numerous BSC credits spanning eight seasons including Much Ado, Cyrano, The Importance of Being Earnest, Black Comedy and Private Lives, as well as creating and playing the role of C.S. Lewis in Mark St. Germain’s Freud’s Last Session. Mark continued this role and appeared in Freud in Chicago and Off-Broadway for two years. In 2011 Freud won the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best New Play. Other credits: Broadway: Absurd Person Singular. Off-Broadway: Shockheaded Peter, The Little Shubert; NY Shakespeare Festival; Classic Stage Company; Manhattan Theatre Club; TFNA; WPA; INTAR. Regional Highlights: this seasons’ Betrayal at The Huntington Theatre; Mark Taper Forum; The Old Globe (San Diego Critics Circle Award); Chicago Shakespeare Theatre; Shakespeare Theatre of DC; Long Wharf (Connecticut Critics Circle Award); Trinity Rep; Yale Rep. FILM: 3 Windows, Say You’ll Be Mine, Junior Creative, Charlie’s Party. TV: Ironside (NBC pilot), Suits, 6 years on All My Children, Gossip Girl, Third Watch, Conviction, Brother Outsider (PBS), Law & Order (original, SVU + Criminal Intent), The Progressives (miniseries), Novel Reflections (pilot). Mark studied at Boston University and The Yale School of Drama.
Breaking the Code will be presented at the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage, 30 Union Street, Pittsfield. Performances are Tuesday and Wednesday at 7pm, Thursday through Saturday at 8pm, Wednesday and Friday matinees at 2pm (excluding 7/19), Sunday at 5pm. There is an additional matinee on Saturday, August 2 at 2pm. Press Opening: Sunday, July 20 at 5pm. Tickets start at $20. Low priced previews July 17-19 tickets are $15/$20. Youth ages 6-18, tickets $15/$20 all performances (subject to availability). (413) 236-8888.