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Amateurs (Griffin) Comedy/Satire 9 (5m, 4f) View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

Following the opening night of the Timberly Troupers' musical about undertakers, Dorothy and her slightly daft husband, Charlie, host a gathering of actors and friends. The chic opening night party is in another part of town, but into Dorothy's living room comes a guest list that includes Nathan (a recently divorced high school teacher who is also a very bad ventriloquist), Wayne (better at loving than acting), Jennifer (who has a sure shot at Hollywood stardom), Ernie (one of the Troupers' actors filled with ham and spite), Irene (his out of patience wife), Mona (who was in love with Wayne but has since moved on to someone else) and Paul (a well-known drama critic and friend of Dorothy's who has just broken his rule of never reviewing community theater). When Paul has a heart attack he drops his not-yet-published review before being taken to the hospital. The actors read it and confront the harsh reality of a pan. Dorothy's sweetness and patience rise above Ernie's bitter tirade, and the others trade barbs and insults as they try to control their emotions. The party becomes the setting where the dreams, loves, failures and successes of this group are explored with bittersweet humor and the relationship between risk and need is touchingly depicted.

The tangled desires and hopes of the guests at an opening night party of a New England community theater group are examined in this bittersweet and touching comedy. "…AMATEURS is more than colorful balloons against a tinted sky…[it] is really about how we distance ourselves from the pain of reality…The run-on comedy…is sharp and funny…" —Boston Globe. "AMATEURS…certainly left me laughing…It is fun to hear the sound of laughter once again…" —The Evening Times. "AMATEURS is…winsomely, wildly, wonderfully funny. So ride with the punches and enjoy the literate, charming mayhem…" —East Side Monthly.  

Boys Next Door, The Comedy/Satire 9 (7m, 2f) View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

The place is a communal residence in a New England city, where four mentally handicapped men live under the supervision of an earnest, but increasingly "burned out" young social worker named Jack. Norman, who works in a doughnut shop and is unable to resist the lure of the sweet pastries, takes great pride in the huge bundle of keys that dangles from his waist; Lucien P. Smith has the mind of a five-year-old but imagines that he is able to read and comprehend the weighty books he lugs about; Arnold, the ringleader of the group, is a hyperactive, compulsive chatterer, who suffers from deep-seated insecurities and a persecution complex; while Barry, a brilliant schizophrenic who is devastated by the unfeeling rejection of his brutal father, fantasizes that he is a golf pro. Mingled with scenes from the daily lives of these four, where "little things" sometimes become momentous (and often very funny), are moments of great poignancy when, with touching effectiveness, we are reminded that the handicapped, like the rest of us, want only to love and laugh and find some meaning and purpose in the brief time that they, like their more fortunate brothers, are allotted on this earth.

An Off-Broadway success, this very funny yet very touching play focuses on the lives of four retarded men who live in a communal residence under the watchful eye of a sincere, but increasingly despairing, social worker. Filled with humor, the play is also marked by the compassion and understanding with which it peers into the half-lit world of its handicapped protagonists. "THE BOYS NEXT DOOR is one of the most unusual…and one of the most rewarding plays in town." —BackStage. "Griffin's play hits squarely on the truth of life with its constant interplays and shadings of triumphs and tears." —NY Daily News. "THE BOYS NEXT DOOR moves the audience to an awareness of how many things in everyday life we take for granted…" —NY Times. 

Einstein and the Polar Bear Comedy/Satire; Drama 6 (4m, 2f) View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

THE EINSTEIN PROJECT is a highly theatrical journey into one of the most fascinating minds of the modern age. It rejects iconic clichés about Albert Einstein in order to reveal the true man—a dynamic, Shakespearean personality, driven by passion, fear and anger. Theatrical techniques involving movement, music and visual images—a Japanese tea ceremony, a picnic with physicist ghosts—convey his mental and emotional struggles. Humorous "newsreels" flicker to show the growing celebrity and absurdity of the Einstein "phenomenon." In the happy early days Einstein creates physics on the spot with members of the Uranium Club and spends his free time sailing with his emotionally disturbed son, Edward. But he increasingly finds himself at odds with the new nationalism of Hitler's Nazi Party—especially when embodied by his chief competition, the brash young genius Werner Heisenberg. Einstein's fear and fury result in the abandonment of Edward—and an escape to America. In the second act, at the height of World War II, Einstein wonders if his old friends are developing atomic weapons for Hitler. Ironically, it is possible that Heisenberg and the other German scientists have successfully resisted such weapons research and trust that Einstein will do the same. But the U.S. Government and ominous rumors from Europe feed Einstein's fear until he breaks down and urges President Franklin Roosevelt to develop atomic weapons for use against Germany. As a result, one of the most famous pacifists of all time is forced to go counter to his own beliefs. And to Einstein's horror, atomic bombs are dropped on a country he didn't even consider—Japan. The climax of the play finds Einstein reunited with his mad son, Edward, trying to sail in the atomic storm that he helped unleash. His discovered love for Edward gives him hope that we can stop the storm.

"A compelling play of ideas done in a superbly theatrical style…This is provocative stuff…dealing with large concepts in an entertaining and theatrical way, it deserves mighty praise in an era of tiny-minded plays." —Minneapolis Star Tribune. "…a riveting, intensely theatrical production…" —Berkshire Eagle. "…total theater…invigorating…scenes of shattering emotional intensity…" —newberkshire.com. "…a provocative script…stimulating, intelligent theater…the subtleties of the images simply take your breath away…triumphant…" —CurtainUp. "Drop everything! To see what theater is when it soars…It will engage your mind and touch your heart." —Theatre Notes. "…a riveting and engrossing play…" —WBRK Radio. "…stimulates the mind while being richly entertaining…" —Advocate.    

Mrs. Sedgewick's Head Comedy/Satire; Drama 10 (8m, 2f) View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

Johnny Simmons, a successful screenwriter, is sent to prison for the mercy killing of his brother. During his incarceration he writes a novel - in his mind - totally memorizes it, and upon his release writes it down verbatim and has it published under a pseudonym. It is a huge success and Hollywood comes calling. The novel is purchased by an independent producer who hooks up with a studio. Although the novel is published under a pseudonym, the studio insists Johnny write the screenplay. Secrets can't be kept. The studio sends a young female exec and the slimy producer to Johnny's cabin to convince him that he's the only one for the job. What at first seems like a screamingly funny and scathing Hollywood comedy soon turns into a rather dark and brooding look at selfishness and self loathing. The ruthless Hollywood moguls and the seemingly innocent locals ultimately clash, showing both sides in a harsh light, proving that if one is not capable of a mercenary lifestyle, one is nothing but a victim.

"It's hard not to resort to some of the "'Hollywood Hype'" the play takes on, to note its impact, but [the play] indeed is: Riveting! Startling! and Not to be Missed!" —East Providence Post. 

Pasta Comedy/Satire 5 (3m, 2f) View Details Compare
Short
Synopsis

The setting is a clean but slightly threadbare apartment in a medium-sized New England city, occupied by Artie and his live-in girlfriend, Roxanne. As the play begins, Artie and his pal Doober are rehearsing the skit (Artie dressed as a box of ziti, Doober as vermicelli) with which they hope to win first prize in the annual pageant put on by the pasta manufacturer for whom Artie works. Hopefully this will turn out better than some of Artie's other schemes—such as betting on the horses—which have put him heavily in debt to an unseen but sinister bookie, Ernesto Mal, whose henchman, appropriately named Slimy, has come by to give Artie a pay-up-or-else ultimatum. Artie's only hope of staving off a broken arm, or worse, is the stamp collection his grandfather left to him, and while Slimy is hardly a philatelist he just happens to have a friend (a lady named Walter) who is. Happily the stamps are valuable, enough so to settle Artie's indebtedness, and as the play ends (after allowing each of the characters an opportunity to regale the audience with a zany recounting of his or her personal story), Artie and Doober are back in costume and heading off to the pasta pageant, their customary high spirits fully restored.

A warm-hearted and quirkily humorous study of some endearingly regular folks who, in trying to improve their lot in life, find themselves drawn into a series of unfortunate, but very funny misadventures. A regional theatre favorite, the play enjoyed successful productions by the Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, Rhode Island and New Haven's Long Wharf Theatre. "PASTA becomes a sweetheart of a play about weak, decent, loving people of this world who you hope can hold off the barbarian hordes just a little while longer." —Providence Journal-Bulletin. "We get caught up in the banter, the unfolding, as the play, like sticky strands of pasta, wraps us, twirls us, spins us around, finally leaving us entertained and satisfied, like a good al dente meal." —The New Paper. "…a comic and contemporary look at a few oddball types." —WEEI Radio.   

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