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Community Theatre's 25th Anniversary Redux: 'Talking with…'
San Juan Community Theatre is going all the way back to the beginning for its upcoming fall play.
As part of the its 25th anniversary celebration, the theatre will resurrect a performance from its very first season, in 1989, and breathe new life into Jane Martin’s “Talking With…”, a provocative and imaginative collection of 11 ten-minute monologues performed by an all-female cast.
Led by artistic director Susan Williams, who, as it so happens, was a featured performer in the theatre’s 1989 production, the play stars some of the island’s most accomplished actresses, including Julie Greene, who also, like Williams, starred in the original performance.
“It feels great to revisit this thought-provoking production,” Williams said. “It shares a very special part of our history, with new actresses and new patrons.”
Taken together the monologues cover a wide spectrum of lives, ages and individual circumstances; from snake handler to disenchanted and disgruntled rodeo cowgirl, from an aspiring young actress to a baton twirler, to a woman covered by tattoos and another on a tight-rope walk on the edge of reality. Sometimes eccentric, sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant, each performance strikes an emotional chord that reverberates long after the stage lights fade to black.
The selection of “Talking With…” conjures up a mystery of its own, as the identity of Jane Martin remains a matter of only speculation, in spite of a list of ten dramatic works credited to the unknown playwright, including “Keely and Du”, a 1994 Pulitzer Prize nominee. Many sources speculate that Martin is the pen-name of Jon Jory, Martin’s spokesperson and former artistic director of the Actors Theatre of Louisville. Jory, who has directed premiers of Martin’s shows, has denied that he and the playwright are one and the same.
Intrigue about the playwright aside, the cast of the theatre’s 2013 production of “Talking With…” features Patti Bair (Clear Glass Marble), Joy Van Camp (Scraps), Therese Finn (French Fries), Penelope Haskew (Rodeo), Shannon Kelley (Dragons), Julie Laidlaw (Handler), Fiona Small (Audition), Kate Small (Twirler), Maureen See (Lamps), and Greene (15 Minutes), and Williams (Marks).
To create a more intimate, up-close setting, the Whittier stage has been reshaped and extended into the audience, which will also reduce the theatre seating capacity by more than half (120) for each showing of the four performance-only production. The play runs Oct. 24-27. Tickets are $17 adults, $8 student reserved and $5 student RUSH at the door. Purchase tickets at SJCT Box Office, Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., or online, www.sjctheatre.org.
The theatre’s Business Partners for “Talking With…” are Coho Restaurant and Robin’s Nest.