The Theater Project is no stranger to hot potato topics, having presented productions and readings of plays tackling marriage and income inequality, not to mention war and peace. And it frequently previews scripts under consideration for its main stage productions in a series of script-in-hand performances and discussions called OPENING NIGHTS IN THE AFTERNOONS, at the Maplewood Memorial Library, 51 Baker Street, at 2 PM, Saturday, September 6. Admission is free.
In GIDION’S KNOT by Johnna Adams, a grieving mother and an emotionally overwhelmed primary school teacher have a fraught conversation about the tragic suicide of the mother’s son, Gidion. Gidion may have been bullied severely—or he may have been an abuser. As his story is slowly uncovered, the women try to reconstruct a satisfying explanation for Gidion’s act and come to terms with excruciating feelings of culpability. “Sharp as a knife,” says The Washington Post about this drama, which is being performed around the country.
Regarding the OPENING NIGHTS series, Theater Project artistic director Mark Spina says, “We keep a running short list of plays that intrigue us, plays that we might consider for full production. It’s very helpful to put the play on its feet in a staged reading and get the audience’s reaction to it in the post-performance discussion. Their comments provide tremendous insight into a script’s connection to our patrons.”
Angela Della Ventura of Mountainside will perform the reading which will be directed by Gary Glor (Union). Glor, The Theater Project’s General Manager, will lead the discussion after the performance.
The Theater Project, an award-winning New Jersey theater company presenting at the Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts in Maplewood, is known for presenting outrageous comedy as well as drama with social commentary. Part of The Theater Project’s mission is to showcase lesser-known plays on thought provoking topics and create dialogue among the audience in post-performance discussions.
This fall, the company offers a light-hearted salute to education, a series of three plays in three weeks: THE THEATER PROJECT GOES BACK TO SCHOOL. The first show, RUSH LIMBAUGH IN NIGHT SCHOOL (October 2 – 5) is a fantasia about a famous talk show host’s foray into liberal land, and MRS. MANNERLY (October 9- 12) is playwright Jeffrey Hatcher’s semi – autobiographical retelling of the etiquette classes he endured as a boy in Ohio. PS 69 – A TEACHER GROWS IN BROOKLYN, brings performance artist Susan Jeremy to New Jersey for the first time in her acclaimed one-woman show about one teacher’s journey through the New York City school system (October 16 – 19).
The Theater Project is celebrating 20 years in 2014. The company offers classes for kids in juggling, puppetry, musical theater and improvisation, and a workshop for adult playwrights. For further information about any of the company’s programs, call 908 809-8865, or visit the web site: TheTheaterProject.org.
Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, 10 Durand Rd, Maplewood, NJ