Readers’ Theatre 16-17
Tickets $11 Regular, $6 Student/ Senior
BBRT LINE-UP FOR SEASON 25
1st Slot: Daniel Blue: “Thrilling Narrative of the Adventures, Sufferings and Starvation of Pike’s Peak Gold Seekers on the Plains of the West in the Winter and Spring of 1859 by one of the survivors.”
(Historical document in the public domain)
Directed by Ann Whiteman as a one-man show
Copy: This little-known true narrative of survival rivals anything created for the stage or screen. Colorado’s gold fields lured many unprepared adventurers to walk the Smoky Hill Trail from Leavenworth, Kansas to Pike’s Peak in merciless late winter storms. Three brothers made a pact they prayed they wouldn’t have to keep.
2nd Slot: Bakersfield Mist by Stephen Sachs (inspired by a true story)
Directed by Deb Note-Farwell
Dramatists Play Service Inc.
Copy: What is art? What is authenticity? So begins the prickly pas de deux between a boozy, unemployed, “trailer trash” bartender and a world-class art expert, a self-proclaimed fakebuster. And the subject of their hilarious battle of wits: the possible discovery of a “lost” Jackson Pollock worth millions.
(Warning: contains adult language)
3rd Slot: Bethany by Laura Marks
Directed by Peggy Shaughnessy
Dramatists Play Service Inc.
Copy: At the height of a foreclosure crisis, a single mother loses more than her home. She struggles to stay positive in questionable situations, but optimism is no match for a bad economy. This is a darkly comic thriller that explores just how far we will go to get back what is ours.
4th Slot: The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance by Jethro Compton
(not the screenplay)
Based on the short story by Dorothy M. Johnson
Directed by Don Kraus
Copy: There’s the law and then, there’s the gun. Was it justice or murder? When legend is bigger than truth, print the legend. This is not the screenplay, but a newly conceived playscript by a British writer who as a boy spent “his days and nights dreaming of the great American West”.
5th Slot: Uncanny Valley by Thomas Gibbons
Directed by Peter Anthony
Dramatists Play Service Inc.
Copy: This is definitely a play for the twenty-first century, as it explores the unsettling divide between the creator and the creation, between Claire, a neuroscientist, and Julian, the nonbiological human she has been assigned to program. Surprising reversals occur as their relationship evolves, ultimately in search of the pivotal moment when artificial intelligence becomes sentient.
Bas Bleu Readers’ Theatre is made possible by a generous contribution from:
Readers’ Theatre Background
Bas Bleu Readers’ Theatre, under co-directors Jonathan and Deb Farwell, has earned enthusiastic response from a loyal audience since Jonathan started it in 2006. It presents five plays per season for three performances only, doubling the total number of plays available to our audience, and incorporating a range of plays which might be risky for full production, including new works by national playwrights, often with an emphasis on dark comedy and current issues. It also provides a forum for actors and directors who may not have time to commit to long rehearsals and performance runs, since the time commitment for participants is relatively small. The play is READ to the audience by actors with scripts in hand, with relatively little stage movement or production values, but with enough rehearsals (usually about five) to arrive at good performance levels in their reading. Often, a narrator is used to provide information the audience needs to follow the action. Auditions for each production are held by the individual director, and once the cast is selected, rehearsals are scheduled to suit the availability of the cast. Actors of all levels of experience are encouraged to audition, and our casts – and directors – seem to love the creativity of the experience. Jonathan likes to call the performances “radio drama with close-ups.” Audiences often tell us they love “seeing the whole play” in their imaginations
THE OTHER PLACE-Jun 2016
by Sharr White
directed by Peter Anthony
Photography courtesy of Steve Finnestead
Juliana, a medical researcher, presents a lecture at a beach resort when an enigmatic young woman appears in a bikini. So begins the unraveling of a mystery of blurred truths, contradictions and memories which leads to the final shattering revelation haunting the windswept shores of “The Other Place.”
WOMEN PLAYING HAMLET – Apr 2016
by William Missouri Downs
co-directed by Jonathan and Deb Note-Farwell
Photography courtesy of Steve Finnestead
Hamlet’s a challenge for any actor, but when Jessica is cast as the titular character in a New York production, it sends her into an existential tailspin. It doesn’t help that her acting coach is borderline abusive, or that every Starbucks barista with an MFA [in Acting] tells her she’s too young for the role. Or that she’s somehow managed to make Sir Patrick Stewart her nemesis. Not to mention the fact that she’s a woman. How can Jessica figure out “to be or not to be,” when she can’t even figure out herself? Featuring an all-female cast performing multiple roles, Women Playing Hamlet is rip-roaring fun for Shakespeare fans and haters alike.
MEET THE PLAYWRIGHT
William Missouri Downs will be joining the cast and co-directors for a 30-minute talk-back following the Saturday matinees on April 16, 2016 and April 30, 2016.
Mr. Downs has won two Rolling Premieres from the National New Play Network (“The Exit Interview” and “Women Playing Hamlet”). He has also won numerous playwriting awards and twice been a finalist at the Eugene O’Neill . Samuel French, Playscripts, and Heuer Publishing have published his plays. Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Interact Theatre Company in Philadelphia, San Diego Repertory Theatre, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Salt Lake Acting Company, Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte, Detroit Repertory Theatre, the International Theatre Festival in Israel, the New York City Fringe Festival, the stadtTheater walfischgasse in Austria, and the Durban Performing Arts Center in South Africa are a few of the 150 theatres that have produced his plays. In Hollywood he served as a staff and freelance writer on several NBC television shows.
THE QUALITY OF LIFE – Feb 2016
by Jane Anderson
directed by Lenny Scovel
Dinah and Bill are devout, church-going midwesterners coping with a difficult loss; Jeanette and Neil are aging Northern California hippies coping with mortality. Their visit explores the challenges of seeing the other side on myriad issues—hopefully, but not necessarily—with good humor and grace.
THE SUNSHINE BOYS – Dec 2015
by Neil Simon
directed by Jim McCauley
Willie Clark never forgave Al Lewis for breaking up their vaudeville act. They reunite to do one of their old comedy routines for a television special. Will they succeed—or strangle each other on camera?
by Sharr White
directed by Peggy Shaughnessy
Twenty years ago Emma walked out on her cowboy-poet husband. As he is dying she finds him in a trailer in Colorado, working on his magnum opus. Their reunion is a breathtaking story about the longevity of love and the power of forgiveness.
photo and graphic courtesy of Steve Finnestead
Thom Pain (based on nothing) by Will Eno, directed by Peter Anthony;
Sun Jun 14 7:30pm
Mon Jun 15 7:30pm
Sat Jun 20 2:30pm
This one-person play is a deeply moving exploration into the beautiful and heart-breaking mysteries of the human experience. The young playwright, a Pulitzer Prize Finalist for this work, is often recognized as the most original “voice” in theatre today.
The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle
by Ross Dungan, directed by Lorraine Larocque, Apr 2015
photo and Photos courtesy of Steve Finnestead, montage courtesy Jay Benedict Brown
Eric Argyle is having a bad Sunday. It’s late. He’s still in his pajamas. A room full of people is staring at him. And he died at 11:42 am, (an issue that people don’t see all that receptive to.) And he must answer a lot of questions on a tight schedule he knows nothing about: questions about his life: how he lived it, why he made certain choices and how he feels. If he’s on trial – what are they deciding?
A Steady Rain
by Keith Huff, Directed by Ann Whiteman, Feb 2015
photos courtesy of Steve Finnestead, montage by Jay Benedict Brown
The “Thin Blue Line” of brotherhood unravels and tightens when two Chicago cops, lifelong friends deliver testimony to an Internal Affairs Board after a routine call of domestic violence turns into a harrowing crime.
by N. Richard Nash, Directed by Graciela Marin, December 2014
On a torrid summer day in the West, Lizzie’s life turns 180 degrees when a charismatic huckster appears to relieve her drought: literally and figuratively. This classic comedy drama delivers tender themes and nostalgic tugs at the heart.
The Breath of Life
by David Hare, directed by Jonathan Farwell, Sep 2014
“Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge.”
Director Jonathan Farwell believes The Breath of Life was written as a vehicle for two of the English-speaking world’s greatest actresses: Dame Judi Dench (Frances Beale) and Dame Maggie Smith (Madeleine Palmer), who starred in its initial presentation in London.
“David Hare is one of Britain’s foremost currently practicing playwrights, whose work is consistently profound, subtle and intellectually challenging. I have encouraged my cast (Deb Note-Farwell and Ann Whiteman) to thread their own path through this intriguing script, and have enjoyed the journey with them,” says Farwell.
Other Desert Cities
By Jon Robin Baitz, Directed by Peter Anthony, Jun 2014
A promising novelist returns home, bearing the manuscript of a memoir, which exposes the politically explosive, tragic death of her brother. Family secrets play out against the backdrop of California affluence in this 2012 Pulitzer Prize-nominated drama.
By Stephen Belber, Directed by Deb Note-Farwell, Apr 2014
A young couple arrives at the upper Manhattan apartment of a renowned dancer/choreographer, allegedly to ascertain his life story. This is a deeply moving, wickedly and treacherously twisting, piece of theatre. Featuring Jonathan Farwell.
WARNING: Contains depictions of adult sexuality
Time Stands Still
By Donald Margulies, Directed by Peggy Shaughnessy, Feb 2014
After barely surviving a bomb blast in Iraq, a noted photojournalist finds herself caught in a tug-of-war between her exhilarating career and the desire for contentment of domestic life. Nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play in 2010.
By Will Eno, directed by Ann Whiteman, Dec 2013
The lives of 23 citizens of Middletown intersect in this wry new comedy that explores the universe of a small American town. This play reads as if it had been penned by Dr. Seuss and Samuel Beckett.
The North Plan
By Jason Wells, Directed By David Austin-Groen, Sep 2013
Photographs by Kate Austin-Groen Photography.
Lovers and haters of conspiracy theories will find this political comedy to be smartly unsettling and hilarious. After a ruthless faction seizes power in Washington, D.C., a State Department bureaucrat absconds with the new regime’s top secret enemies list. Let the revolution begin!
WARNING: Contains strong adult language and depictions of violence.
Tanya Shepke Rebecca Spafford
Shonda Cox Saja Butler
Chief Swenson Ken Benda
Carlton Berg Stetson Weddle
Dale Pittman Brien Fletcher
Bob Lee Duane Sawyer
Narrator Al Dominguez