Oldcastle Theatre Company is presenting a series of readings of new plays by such well-known playwrights as Michael Weller, Wall Street Journal critic Terry Teachout, local playwright Robert Sugarman and others.
The series kicks off Tuesday, July 17 with Actors on a Train, a play set in 1940 about a company of actors traveling via train from Mobile to Atlanta in a touring production of Life with Father, who suddenly find themselves helping an African American fleeing an angry mob. Sugarman has had plays produced by Oldcastle Theatre Company and Shakespeare & Company among others. The cast includes Brandan Rubin, Peter Langstaff, Anne Undeland, Drew Davidson, Sarah Solari and Mike Cutler. The reading will take place at the theatre 331 Main Street, Bennington.
The following Tuesday, July 24, Nathan Stith will direct Stripped, a play by his Trinity University colleague Rachel Joseph at the Bennington Free Library. Underneath the play’s seeming realism is a dreamlike, not-of-this-world world. Two of the characters are analysts and the others are their patients. The cast includes Oldcastle regulars Meredith Meurs, Richard Howe, Christine Decker, and Gabriel Vaughan.
Michael Weller, one of the country’s most esteemed playwrights is best known for Loose Ends, Spoils of War and Moonchildren as well as the screenplays for Ragtime and Hair. The Full Catastrophe is a penetrating and amusing look at modern marriage based on the novel by David Carkeet.
Terry Teachout, the author of Satchmo at the Waldorf, based on Teachout’s biography of jazz giant Louis Armstrong, has written a new play, Billy and Me. Billy and Me is an examination of the friendship between two towering American playwrights, Tennessee Williams and William Inge. The two met when Inge went to Chicago to review Williams’s then-new play, The Glass Menagerie. Teachout, in addition to being the Journal’s theatre critic, has written biographies of H. L. Mencken and Duke Ellington.
Polaroids Before the Fall by John Pietrowski is a neo-medieval play about the American mystic Thomas Merton. Pietrowski, the Artistic Director of Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, had a previous play Dura Mater in a reading at Oldcastle. He has also directed for the company.
Oldcastle’s Producing Artistic Director, Eric Peterson has written a new play, Water, Water Everywhere… about a small New England town dealing with a poisoned water crisis caused by PFOAs (the man-made chemical used in the process of making Teflon). Peterson is the author ofFresh Hell, The Life and Times of Dorothy Parker, Civil Union and an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.
The series starts at 7pm and is free and open to the public with a requested donation. Upcoming dates for the latter four plays are to be announced. For additional information check out the Oldcastle website: oldcastletheatre.org or call the theatre at 802-447-0564.