The Coop Brings a Limited Engagement of TERRA FIRMA by Barbara Hammond


TERRA FIRMA—A dark comedy, set in a disturbingly not-so-distant future. Years after a conflict known as the Big War, a tiny kingdom jutting out of the sea wrestles with the problems of forming a nation—and opposing notions of what it means to be a citizen, a country, and a civilization. Inspired by actual events. Directed by Shana Cooper.

TERRA FIRMA, by Barbara Hammond, was originally a commission for the Royal Court Theatre, the premiere venue for new writing in the UK. This production is co-presented with Baruch Performing Arts Center. 

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THE LAST WIDE OPEN by Audrey Cefaly Premiered at the Vermont Stage

Theater Review: A Hollywood Screwball Comedy for Today

Charlotte Munson is Lina and Jordan Gullikson, Roberto, in the Vermont Stage production of “The Last Wide Open.”

BURLINGTON – Two misfits – the waitress Lina and the Italian immigrant busboy Roberto – have been working together seemingly forever in the same Italian restaurant. Although they have seldom spoken, there is an undeniable attraction. They have three opportunities to figure it out, each at a different time in their lives. Will they?

Vermont Stage opened a charming production of the oddball romantic comedy “The Last Wide Open” this week at the Main Street Landing Black Box Theatre. Thursday’s performance enjoyed its fine cast of two reverting to the screwball comedies of 1930s and ‘40s Hollywood – with a decidedly contemporary twist.

This is only the second production of this play with music. With book and lyrics by Audrey Cefaly and music by Matthew M. Nielson, the comedy premiered in January at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, where Vermont Stage Company founder Blake Robison has been artistic director since 2012.

The play’s unique structure is alluded to in the play’s complete title. “The Last Wide Open: A Love Song in Three Movements” is told in three segments, separated by folk-style songs: in the first, Roberto has been in the restaurant and the country for five years, and he and Lina, finding themselves alone in the dining room one, talk for the first time; in the second, Roberto has just come to the U.S. and barely speaks English, yet he and Lina find a way to communicate; and, in the final, some 10 years later, finds both married – unhappily – meeting together unexpectedly.

Lina wants to be a nurse and is marrying Todd, though she has very little good to say about him. Roberto isn’t having such good luck with his girlfriend Anna in Italy either. Of course, they figure it out – but oh what fun along the way.

Directed by Jamien Forrest, Vermont Stage’s general manager, Charlotte Munson and Jordan Gullikson are well cast as Lina and Roberto, and seemed to have great fun in this gentle battle of the sexes. Although Munson hid any vulnerability to the very end, she proved a witty and feisty Gina. (She also was quite a fine singer.)

Gullikson presented a more dimensional and sympathetic Roberto, from meek to tender to angry to loving, but always irresistible. Most importantly, their interaction was natural, convincing and very funny.

Vermont Stage has benefited greatly from its move to the Burlington Waterfront, with much fewer limitations than FlynnSpace, its longtime home. Designer Jeff Modereger took advantage of the malleable space to create an attractive and decidedly Italian restaurant interior (and exterior), dramatically lit by Joe Cabrera. Rébecca Lafon devised the novel quick-change costumes, and Dylan Friedman’s sound design underscored the stage activity including some particularly dramatic moments.

Vermont Stage’s “The Last Wide Open” is a happy return to screwball romantic comedies of yesteryear.

Read the full article by Jim Lowe from the Times Argus here.

Clutch Productions Presents Limited Engagement Run Of Tira Palmquist’s THE WORTH OF WATER

Clutch Productions presents a limited engagement run of THE WORTH OF WATER, a new play written by Tira Palmquist and directed by Mêlisa Annis that will be presented Friday, October 4th through Sunday, October 20th, Off-Broadway at HERE, 145 6th Avenue, (on Dominick St., one block south of Spring St.).

This is the second commission of a new, full-length play from blank page to its world premiere on a New York stage by Clutch, the inaugural commission being the world premiere of Every Good Girl Deserves Fun by Heidi Armbruster (upcoming Dairyland at Playmakers Rep, Mrs. Christie at Dorset Theatre Festival).

Elle is a struggling singer-songwriter in California. Rebecca is an unhappy homemaker in Wisconsin. And Ethel is bringing her daughters together for her 70th birthday to be momentary mermaids in the springs of Weeki Wachee. But as the fantasy dissipates, will they be able to swim back to shore?

“After receiving submissions from dozens of playwrights throughout the country and a rigorous vetting process, Clutch was thrilled to select Tira for our second commission cycle,” says Producing Artistic Director, Christianne Greiert. “Not only is she a skilled collaborator, playwright, and dramaturg, she is also an inspirational bad-ass. We were drawn to her pitch for The Worth of Water, not just because it involved mermaid camp and all the theatrical delight that could provide, but also because of the timely and provocative juxtapositions she was eager to explore with her narrative.”

The cast of THE WORTH OF WATER features Kim Crow (Wit, American Stage; Doublewide and Golda’s Balcony, Florida Studio Theatre); Clare Latham (Currently in the Soho Rep company of Fairview (TFNA) // Two-time Off West End Award Nominee for Best Female Performer (Danny and The Deep Blue Sea; Southwark Playhouse, 2012) and Best Supporting Female Performer (Doubt, A Parable; Southwark Playhouse, 2017); Christianne Greiert (Every Good Girl Deserves Fun, Clutch/Walkerspace; Foreign Bodies, NYTW); dL Sams (Dietland on AMC); Michael Billingsley (The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, dir. Estelle Parsons, La Mama); Miranda Noelle Wilson (Ryan Rafferty is the Most Powerful Woman in Fashion, Joe’s Pub); and Morgan Sullivan (Aunt Jack, Theatre for the New City).

The creative team features scenic design by Jessie Bonaventure, costume design by Johanna Pan, lighting design by Kelley Shih, and sound design by Brian Heveron-Smith. Lisa Stafford is the Production Stage Manager. 

Playwright Tira Pamlquist is known for plays that merge the personal, the political and the poetic. Her most produced play, Two Degrees, premiered at the Denver Center, and was subsequently produced by Tesseract Theater in St. Louis and Prime Productions at the Guthrie (among others). Her newest play The Way North was a Finalist for the O’Neill and an Honourable Mention for the 2019 Kilroys List. While working on THE WORTH OF WATER for Clutch Productions, Tira was also working on a commission for Lower Depth Theater Ensemble in Los Angeles. Safe Harbor, a play about sex trafficking, will premiere in November in LA. Tira has also been commissioned to write new work for the University of California, Irvine graduate acting students. Her play Hold Steady was workshopped at UCI in January 2019, and she is currently working on All We Ever Wanted Was Everything, to be workshopped in January 2020. Her other plays include Ten Mile Lake (Serenbe Playhouse), Age of Bees (NYU Stella Adler Studio, MadLab Theater, Tesseract), And Then They Fell (MadLab, Brimmer Street, New York Film Academy) and This Floating World.

Director Mêlisa Annis has had the pleasure of working with and at Primary Stages, The Ambassadors Theatre Group (London), The Arcola Theater (London), Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Shadowland Stages, Tangent Theater, Queens College, Rebellious Subjects, The Playground Experiment, New York University, and Theater Masters FL as a director and dramaturg. As a writer, Mêlisa’s plays have been developed at and with Parity Productions, The Lark and Dorset Theater Festival at the Theresa Rebeck Writers Colony, The New School, Primary Stages, ESPA*Drills (2014), The Lark, The National Arts Club NYC, The Playground Experiment, and RAL. She also had the joy of writing an episode for Amazon Studio’s upcoming series for children (to be announced soon). Mêlisa is currently working on a new musical with Grammy Award Nominee Jamie Floyd (details to be announced soon). Personal essays have been published in several major publications, and she is a frequent contributor to the BBC. Mêlisa also teaches at the NYU Tisch Dramatic Writing program in NYC. 

Performances of THE WORTH OF WATER are on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 6:30pm, Saturdays at 1:30pm and 6:30pm, and Sundays at 1:30pm. There is no 1:30pm performance on Saturday, October 12. HERE is located at 145 6th Ave. (Enter on Dominick St., 1 Block South of Spring St.).

Article from Broadway World.