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An Interview with Playwright Mary Fengar Gail
By Gary Wien
What do you think Touch of Rapture is about?
I think it's about love and loss. It's the idea of possessing a gift and passing it on. I've actually have always been fascinated by genetics and the idea that people will be customizing their babies and someday they may find the genetic marker for gifts such as being a musician or a painter or mathematician; someone's destiny will be completely figured out for them before they're even born. So I thought, what if a gift could be passed through shear will? And that's the impetus of the play. Also there's a red cloth that goes from scene to scene and it's about how we perceive an object. They've discovered that the person perceiving the object actually affects the object at a subatomic level. All of these ideas coalesced in my mind - my demented mind - and became this play.
Was there a particular reason that you have the play set in London?
Well, one of the characteristics of the English people is eccentricity, so I thought it would be more fun to have it take place there. There's also a big sculpture movement in England; a very active art world. And I'm allowed a lot more liberties with regards to language. I can use words like bullocks. It's a wonderful language that I couldn't use if it took place in New York.
The other thing I like is a heightened passion that takes me to unfamiliar worlds. If the characters have English accents and a kind of slanted speech it asks the audience to listen in a different way. And maybe they'll enter the whole fantastical world... Or maybe they'll resist but it's more fun for me.
The laughs in Touch Of Rapture seem to grow larger as the play moves on.
I think people need to get comfortable with the play and each other and give themselves permission to laugh. It is a comic drama.
The play is very much based in fantasy but plot driven as well.
Aristotle said the essence of drama is story and I think he means plot. I have to admit I do love plot. Look at the shows on tv that are successful - shows like Law & Order - and they're plot driven. So, because I love story I do put the story element in my plays. And sometimes it takes me a long time to figure out what the story exactly is but the characters are clear and they help write the story.
I'm just grateful when anybody agrees to my run with my perversions. I don't think I write in the normal, more conventional-linear-sequential- domestic-realism style. I prefer a more fantastical theatre and not everyone's willing to enter my demented world.
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The Panto Company Presents "Beauty and the Beast" at The Newton Theatre
(NEWTON, NJ) -- When you think of a dying rose and a clock, candlestick andteapot who talk... you are thinking Beauty and the Beast. One of this season's spellbinding family shows from The Panto Company USA stars Dame Dotty Potty, Loopy Louie, Gaston, Belle and of course The Beast! The company brings their show to The Newton Theatre on Sunday, March 3 at 3:00pm.
La Strada Ensemble Theater Presents "La Bella Familia" by Edwin Sanchez
(OCEAN GROVE, NJ) -- La Strada Ensemble Theater presents La Bella Familia by Edwin Sanchez from January 18-20. The play deals with a Puerto Rican hit woman and the gentlest man in the world move next door to the neighbors from hell and everyone learns, the hard way, that family comes first.
Art House Productions Presents "The Passion Project" by Reid Farrington
(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- Art House Productions presents the unique theatrical experience that is Reid Farrington’s The Passion Project performed by Laura K. Nicoll. Eight performances will take place from February 21st to March 3rd. The Passion Project is a 30 minute vibration between performance, film, and installation. Carl Th.Dreyer’s 1928 immortal masterpiece, “The Passion of Joan of Arc” is the main narrative along with the history behind the making of the film, a discussion with a Danish archivist, the story of making this project, as well as Joan’s own story –– her trial, torture, and execution. The Passion Project explodes the film into the three dimensions; placing the audience inside the film, sitting next to Joan, subjecting them to the relentless rhythm of 35 mm film projection.
4th Wall Theatre Presents "Intimate Apparel" by Lynn Nottage
(MAPLEWOOD, NJ) -- 4TH WALL THEATRE continues its 22nd season with a one weekend run of Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel. The show will be presented as part of the Black History Month celebrations on February 22, 23, and 24 at the Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts in Maplewood, NJ. The show is directed by 4th Wall Executive Director Gwen Ricks-Spencer.
East Lynne Theater, the Henry Sawyer Inn, and Twin Gable's Inn present Murder Mystery Weekends
(CAPE MAY, NJ) -- The award-winning East Lynne Theater Company, with The Henry Sawyer Inn and Twin Gables Inn, present Murder Mystery Weekends on February 15-16, March 8-9, March 22-23, March 29-30, and April 5-6. Participants can test their crime-solving skills while staying in one of these lovely Bed & Breakfasts. East Lynne Theater Company's Murder Mystery Weekends were cited among one of the top five in the country by "AM NY."
It's "Apple Season" at NJ Rep
Every family has stories. Some are funny. Some are sweet. Some are sad. And some are never shared.
Those are often the most powerful.
Rise of the Goatman
Theater For The New City presents Beltsville/Rockville, Part 1: Rise of the Goatman, an original play by Englewood resident Matt Okin (Artistic Director of Black Box Studios), from December 27 through January 13. In this pseudo-Southern Gothic dark comedy, a vibrant group of teens from two very different suburban neighborhoods clash over class differences, drugs, and sex - and the existence of the legendary ‘Goatman’ in 1986. Cut to 2013, and the adolescent kids of those very same teens are struggling to make sense of their family histories - and the same “mythological” creature - that could be holding them back in life.
PHOTOS from "The Winter's Tale" at Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
(MADISON, NJ) -- The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s concludes its 56th season with its sixth and final Main Stage production, The Winter's Tale. Last seen at The Shakespeare Theatre in 2008, Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte directs this production of Shakespeare’s tragicomedic romance. Veteran company members Jacqueline Antaramian, Jon Barker, Erin Partin, John Keabler, Raphael Nash Thompson,Seamus Mulcahy, Patrick Toon, and Ames Adamson are among a cast of 20 actors. Performances run now through December 30.
REVIEW: "It's A Wonderful Life" At Mile Square Theatre
Nestled in a corner of Hoboken, on the second floor, lies the studios of radio station WMST. It’s a wonderful art deco studio, replete with fine wooden walls, embedded with colorful lights an applause sign. On stage, we’ve got a few chairs, several microphones and a whole corner wedged with all the necessary props – piano, men’s shoes, sheet metal – to create the audio effects for the production of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Betsy Aidem Puts A Woman's Touch On George Street Playhouse's "A Doll's House, Part 2"
Betsy Aidem is a veteran actress you might have seen on Broadway. Or maybe on an episode of “Law & Order: SVU.” Or maybe on the big screen last year in “The Greatest Showman.”
But over the next few weeks in New Brunswick, Aidem is adding a brand-new section to her résumé — by helming a sequel (of sorts) to a classic play that’s more than 100 years old.