THE REAL McGONAGALL
By: Willy Holtzman
February 10 to 27, 2011
On the eve of his return voyage to Scotland, Sir William Topaz McGonagall recites his outrageously bad poetry at a saloon in New York. Is he a fool? A joke? Or is the joke on any of us who has ever secretly yearned for artistic self-expression but not dared go public? A hilarious account of the true life-story of the world’s worst poet and his dubious (but loveable) place in history. Illustration by Karen Lybrand
Running Time: 1hour, 20 minutes
Theater Review: Quirky hero of 'McGonagall' charms
Behind the really bad poetry, a big heart
Bob Keyes, Staff Writer
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
Willy Holtzman Willy Holtzman received the HBO Award at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. He taught as a visiting artist at Bronx Regional High School in the South Bronx, and was Resident Playwright at Juilliard from 1990-92. He has worked with the 52d Street Project in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen and on the Navajo Reservation. He is a board member of New Dramatists and Harlem Stage.
Holtzman’s plays include: The Morini Strad (PlayPenn, Guild Hall, scheduled for production in New York for 2011), The Real McGonagall (Portland Stage Little Festival, New Harmony Project - recipient of the first Walt Wanger in fellowship), Something You Did (Primary Stages, People’s Light and Theatre), Sabina (Primary Stages, New Jewish Theatre, Portland Stage Little Festival), Hearts (People's Light and Theatre, Asolo Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, Long Wharf Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Alliance Theatre, New Jewish Theatre, Barrymore Award, Arthur Miller Award, Smith and Kraus Best New Plays), Bovver Boys (Primary Stages, Cleveland Play House, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Curtain Theatre), The Closer (Working Theatre, GeVa Theatre; Davie Award), Inside Out (Theatre for a New Audience, Portland Stage, Nebraska Rep) San Antonio Sunset (New York, Los Angeles, London, Dublin, Bombay; Best Short Plays) White Trash (West Bank Downstairs Cabaret). For film and television: Edge of America ( Peabody Award, Humanitas Prize, Writers Guild Award, Sundance Film Festival Opening Night 2004), Voices in Conflict (Emmy Nomination), Blood Brothers (HBO, Cine Golden Eagle Award).
ABOUT THE CAST
Mark Honan (Sir William Topaz McGonagall) was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire. He worked as a ‘walk on’ at the local repertory theater before training at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London. On the British stage he played Romeo in Romeo And Juliet, Macduff in Macbeth and parts in adaptations of Dickens and Thomas Hardy. He toured America playing Touchstone in As You Like It and then stayed in New York to work Off Broadway with The Riverside Shakespeare Co. He is now an Affiliate Artist with Portland Stage and has appeared as Bob Cratchit in A Christmas Carol, Charlie in The Foreigner, Lloyd in Noises off, Dvornicheck in Rough Crossing and Charles Dickens in Longfellow. Other local roles include Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest and Harpagon in The Miser for Spring point Theater, Charles in Blithe Spirit at The Theater Project and Ivan in The Seafarer for AIRE. Mark has a role in the new short film The Fun House and has numerous voice over credits. He has appeared on The History Channel in The Conquest Of America and can be seen currently in an Oakhurst Dairy tv spot. This is dedicated to the memory of his father.
ABOUT THE DESIGN TEAM
RON BOTTING (Director) last directed Daniel Noel’s Longfellow: A Life in Word (world premiere) for Portland Stage’s 2007-2008 Studio Series. Since 1996 Ron has acted in Portland Stage productions of Scapin, Romeo & Juliet, Manifest (world premiere), Blithe Spirit, Travels with My Aunt, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Betrayal, True West, The Comedy of Errors, Lend Me a Tenor, Syncopation, Much Ado About Nothing, and Bach at Leipzig. Ron is an Affiliate Artist at Portland Stage and is a member of Actor’s Equity Association and United Scenic Artists.
ANITA STEWART (Set Designer) has worked as a set and costume designer at leading theaters across the country, including: the Gutherie, Seattle Rep, Canadian Opera Company, Minnesota Opera, A.R.T., Steppenwolf, Hartford Stage, Dallas Theater Center, Long Wharf Theatre, New York Theater Workshop, Boise Contemporary Theater, New Jersey Shakespeare and Portland Stage Company. Anita’s desire to play a meaningful role as an artist in a specific community brought her to Portland Stage Company in Maine as Artistic Director, a company for which she had previously done significant freelance design.
ADAM VACHON (Lighting Designer) was the Electrics and Sound Intern at Portland Stage for the 2009-2010 Season at Portland Stage Company. His artistic interests include performance, lighting design, directing and aerial dance. Adam is a 2009 graduate of Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA with a BA in Theatre Performance and Technology. The Real McGonagall marks Adam's lighting design debut, and he is excited and thankful for the opportunity.
SUSAN THOMAS (Costume Designer) is now on her fifth season as the Costume Shop Manager at Portland Stage. Some of Susan’s design credits at Portland Stage Company are A Christmas Carol and The SantaLand Diaries, both of which ran this season; Fully Committed, and Longfellow: A Life in Words in previous seasons. Susan would like to thank the Theatre Department at USM for the wonderful opportunity to design Tea & Sympathy for their fall season. Shows Susan has designed at various theaters include: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Indoor/ Outdoor, Almost Maine, As You Like It, The Tempest, Henry V, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Richard III, and One for the Road. Susan has worked in the costume shops of a variety of regional theatres including: Maine State Music Theater, Geva Theater Center, Shakespeare & Company, The Theater at Monmouth, Fenix Theatre Company, The Opera House at Boothbay Harbor, and Port Opera.
Chris Fitze (Sound Designer) is pleased to be designing sound for his sixth season with Portland Stage. Over the past three years, Chris has done the sound design for many of the shows including Fences, True West, Women and the Sea and Dinner with Friends. When not at the theater, Chris works for the Children’s Museum of Maine helping to design, build and maintain their exhibits. He is a volunteer usher at Merrill Auditorium and a member of the sketch comedy/improv group The Escapists!
DUSTIN TUCKER (Stage Manager) is very excited to be a part of The Real McGonagall. New York credits include: Now That’s What I Call a Storm (Blue Herron Arts Center), Living Room in Africa (The Beckett @ Theatre Row) and Stone Cold Dead Serious (Chashama). Dustin is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.