by William Donnelly
October 30 - November 18, 2012
On a rainy afternoon, a long-married couple’s quiet routine is disrupted by the appearance of an enigmatic young stranger and her boyfriend. But what at first seems to be a ridiculous annoyance soon turns to deeper curiosity, as all four begin to question where they’re going… and where they’ve been. Part love story, part existential mystery, Homestead Crossing is a startling new comedy in a predictable life.
Running time: 1 hour, 20 min - with no intermission.
Theater Review: A deep look at relationships
By APRIL BOYLE
We all come to a crossroads, at some time in our lives, where we wonder how we got to where we are, and where we're going. As time goes on, memories tend to fade, and dreams all too often fall to the wayside. Passion, enthusiasm and spontaneity are replaced by complacency.
"Homestead Crossing" brings the past, present, and future together with a supernatural twist befitting a Halloween week opening.
Portland Stage is presenting the world premier of the play, written by William Donnelly. The Massachusetts-based playwright previously brought us such plays as "Magnetic North." With "Homestead Crossing," he once again combines a philosophical look at relationships, with a hearty dose of humor.
The play is set in the suburban home of Noel (David Adkins) and Anne (Corinna May). The middle-aged husband and wife have lost touch with who they are, and what they want. They co-exist, but are virtually invisible to each other.
The path they're on takes on unexpected and revitalizing turn when a young couple, Claudia (Lesley Shires) and Tobin (Ross Cowan), mysteriously appear on their doorstep one rainy night.
"Homestead Crossing," directed by Kyle Fabel, officially opened at Portland Stage Friday night. From the moment the audience stepped into the theater, there was a mystical feel in the air. A study, with a cathedral ceiling, in-wall bookcase and large picture window, welcomingly beckoned to the audience, as if inviting patrons to sit in the two chairs in the middle of the room.
Blue gossamer fabric hung ethereally from the rafters outside the house like cascading sheets of rain, adding mystique. Lighting from Paul Hackenmueller and sound effects from Shane Rettig provided additional ambiance.
The set, designed by Artistic Director Anita Stewart, beautifully set the mood for the enigmatic tale that was about to unfold on stage.
The core theme of "Homestead Crossing" is the relationship issues that couples face. In Noel and Anne, the audience is shown a longtime married couple, fatigued by the years.
Adkins and May expertly played off each other, amusingly highlighting the couple's inability to communicate, and overall apathy. Even the idea of "fooling around" is too big of a production.
The subject is serious, but Donnelly masterfully presents it in a lighthearted, witty manner that readily garnered laughs Friday.
The laughs kicked into high gear with the introduction of Claudia, then Tobin. Shires and Cowan captured the young couple's naivety and spirit. Their facial expressions, mannerisms and perfectly timed line delivery were beyond priceless.
Donnelly has a knack for writing plays audiences can identify with. We've all been one of his couples, or know couples that are. His style brings out the humor of the situation, without losing the inherent meaning.
The transcendental quality of "Homestead Crossing" further adds to the charm. One doesn't have to be a medium to see that this play has a bright and promising future.
April Boyle is a free-lance writer from Casco. She can be contacted at:
ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT
William Donnelly is a New England playwright whose play Magnetic North won the Clauder Competition grand prize in 2006. Following its mainstage production in 2008, Magnetic North went on to several theaters, including Active Theatre Company in New York and the Public Theatre in Lewiston, Maine. Donnelly had twice previously been named a Clauder Competition Finalist for Apocalypso! (2001 and ‘01 LFU) and Remuda (2003 and ’04 LFU), which was also produced as part of the 2006 Midtown International Theatre Festival. Donnelly was also the resident playwright for Massachusetts-based Industrial Theatre from 1997 to 2008, and was awarded a New Theatre Works grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council in 2005. His other plays include Motel Stories (2000), Painted Alice (2002), and No Wake (2010), and a number of his short plays have appeared in the annual Boston Theatre Marathon. He lives in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.
ABOUT THE CAST
David Adkins (Noel) has been seen on numerous theatre stages around the country, the latest being George St. Playhouse as juror number 4 in "Twelve Angry Men" and Westport Country Playhouse as Malvolio in Twelfth Night. Others include The Mandrake Root (with Lynne Redgrave) at San Jose Rep, Agamemnon (with Olympia Dukakis) for Aquila Theatre Co. off Broadway in New York, and Merrimack Rep. in The Seafarer (IRNE nomination.) Other favorites include:To Kill a Mockingbird at Barrington Stage, Vladimir in Waiting for Godot at BTF, Time Flies at the Old Globe, Going Native at Long Wharf, The Misanthrope at American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, Blithe Spirit at Baltimore's Center Stage, Boy Gets Girl at the Goodman as well as appearances at The Kennedy Center, Denver Center Theater, ACT - Seattle, Huntington Theatre, The Spoleto Festival and fourteen seasons at The Berkshire Theatre Festival among others. New York credits include Boy Gets Girl at Manhattan Theatre Club, Immaculate Misconception and Sabina at Primary Stages, and his Broadway debut with the National Actors Theatre in St. Joan. Television credits include: Without A Trace, Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, Chicago Hope, Trinity, Another World, One Life to Live, the pilot Blaq Jaq, directed by Forest Whitaker, and the PBS Mini-Series Ben Franklin. Juilliard.
Ross Cowan (Tobin) has performed in Cato (The Flea), The Misanthrope (PS122), The Importance of Being Earnest/Hemingway (M-34/Chashama), Camino Real, Clybourne Park (NYU Grad Acting) and Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom (Brown/Trinity Playwright's Rep, Providence, RI). Training: MFA, NYU Graduate Acting. www.RossCowan.com
Corinna May (Anne) is delighted to be making her Portland Stage debut! National Broadway Tour: The Graduate with Jerry Hall/Linda Gray/Lorraine Bracco/Kelly McGillis/Morgan Fairchild (Mrs. Braddock, u/s Mrs. Robinson). NYC: premiere of Thirty Story Masterpieces by Tommy Smith. Regional: Berkshire Theatre Group, Two-headed, Homestead Crossing; Merrimack Rep, Homestead Crossing; Redhouse, Frozen; Syracuse Stage The Smell of the Kill, Romeo & Juliet; Capitol Rep. The Smell of the Kill; Rep. Theater of St. Louis, Misalliance; Studio Arena, The Dining Room, Season's Greetings; Virginia Stage Co., Terra Nova, Twelfth Night, Blithe Spirit; Philadelphia Theater Co., Sight Unseen. Shakespeare & Company (21 seasons): 28+productions including King Lear, The Memory of Water, Twelfth Night, The Winter's Tale, A.R.Gurney's Ancestral Voices, Enchanted April, Roman Fever, Jack and Jill, Betrayal, Songs from the Heart, Fortune and Misfortune, House of Mirth, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing, The Old Maid. Wharton Salon: Xingu, Autre Temps. Film: Split Ends (starring); Speck's Last; Rain Without Thunder. Television: "Unforgettable (CBS) ; "Law & Order" (NBC); "Evening at the Pops"(PBS); "Bourbon Street" (indie pilot). Playwright: Dancing with the Czar. Designated Linklater voice teacher. Proud to be a union member!
Lesley Shires (Claudia) New York stage credits include the world premiere of Henry Box Brown by Tony Kushner and a developmental production of Acquainted with the Night by Keith Reddin (NYU Grad Acting). Regional: Laughing Stock (Pioneer Theatre Company), Gruesome Playground Injuries (Boise Contemporary Theater), The Little Prince, Crimes of the Heart, Amadeus, and Romeo and Juliet (PlayMakers Repertory), One Slight Hitch by Lewis Black (PATP), Cats (The Hangar), La Cage aux Folles (North Carolina Theatre). TV/Film: Person of Interest, Rescue Me. NYU Grad Acting: Orpheus Descending, Angels in America: Perestroika, Macbeth, The Emperor Antony, HmatrixH. As a choreographer, her work includes Henry Box Brown, The Emperor Antony , and HmatrixH. Training: East Carolina University, BFA; NYU Grad Acting, MFA; Guthrie Experience.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION TEAM
Kyle Fabel (Director) Having directed (and acted) at theaters all over New England, Kyle is very pleased to be making his debut at Portland Stage. Around the region Kyle has directed: Trying, The Four of Us, Tranced, Fabuloso, The Persian Quarter, and Mrs. Whitney at Merrimack Repertory Theatre; No Wake, Finian's Rainbow, A Thousand Clowns and Homestead Crossing at Berkshire Theatre Group; and The Last Five Years and An Enemy of the People at Playhouse on Park in West Hartford. Kyle is fortunate to be regularly developing new plays with great American playwrights: like Homestead Crossing's Bill Donnelly, with whom he also premiered No Wake; comedian Rich Hall, with whom he has brought Best Western (actor) and Campfire Stories (director) to the Edinburgh Festival; and John Kolvenbach (Fabuloso, Mrs. Whitney), whose latest play, Half 'n Half 'n Half, Kyle and John will be premiering next month at Merrimack Rep. As an actor, Kyle has appeared on Broadway - in Aaron Sorkin's The Farnsworth Invention at the Music Box Theatre, and John Guare's A Free Man of Color at Lincoln Center's Vivian Beaumont Theatre, and Off-Broadway - with Primary Stages and The Actors Company Theatre. Regionally, he has performed at The Huntington, Hartford Stage, Hartford Theaterworks, the La Jolla Playhouse, the Shakespeare Theatre DC, the McCarter, the Alley, the Cincinnati Playhouse, and the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. He is a graduate of Marquette University and New York University's Graduate Acting Program, as well as NYU's Alumni Directors Lab.
Anita Stewart (Set Designer) has worked as a set and costume designer at leading theaters across the country, including: The Guthrie, Seattle Repertory Theatre, 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, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Portland Stage. Anita's desire to play a meaningful role as an artist in a specific community brought her to Portland Stage in Maine as Artistic Director, a company for which she had previously done significant freelance design. In her current role as Executive & Artistic Director, Anita continues to design sets every season. She is thrilled to be working on this collaboration with Berkshire Theatre Festival and Merrimack Repertory Theatre.
Lara de Bruijn (Costume Designer) Is so excited to have this wonderful production in another great theatre! Born and raised in Canada and now living in New York, recent and upcoming projects in opera, dance and theatre include Half ‘n Half ‘n Half (world premiere, Merrimack Repertory Theatre), Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (Company One), A Little Night Music (Castleton Opera Festival), Present Laughter and Measure For Measure (NHTA Award Best Costume Design (Peterborough Players), The Travelers (LOTNY, 59E59), The Electric Lighthouse (world premiere, The Flea Theatre), The Suicide (Target Margin), The Man Under (59E59), Transformations, l'Enfant et les Sortilleges and l'Heure Espagnole (Boston Conservatory), The Three Penny Opera, Vieux Carre and A Midsummer Night's Dream, (Trinity Rep Consortium), Lysistrata (La MaMa). Work abroad includes KAGED (Stockholm Fringe Festival), A Blessing on the Moon (Chutzpah Festival), Pains of Youth (Unit 102), Oh Dad Poor Dad... (Angels and Heroes), The Goat (Neptune Theatre). MFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. See more at: laradawndesign.com
Paul Hackenmueller (Lighting Designer) is delighted to be making his Portland Stage debut. Paul's Off Broadway credits include Jump/Rope Square Peg Productions, Cloud Tectonics Culture Project, Walk Two Moons Lucille Lortel. Paul's work has also seen on Off-Off Broadway and Regional productions across the country including: Peter Pan, The Great American War Machine Irondale Ensemble, Carrie PS122, The Guthrie Theater: Confluence, An Evening of One Acts, Short Stories, An Evening of Short Plays, Seven Eleven, I Keep Walking on Sinking Sand, A Long Walk, Boston Lyric Opera: Tosca, Opera Colorado: Romeo & Juliet, Rusalka, Syracuse Stage: Caroline or Change, Geva: A Christmas Carol, Alliance Theater: Ghost Brother's of Darkland County, Jesus Christ Superstar Gospel (Associate), Merrimack Repertory Theater: Fabuloso, Mrs. Whitney, Half ‘n Half ‘n Half, Homestead Crossing, Berkshire Theater Festival: No Wake, Finian's Rainbow, Homestead Crossing, McCarter Theater Center / Princeton University: Troy: After & Before, People's Light & Theater Company: Tale of Two Cities, Cinderella, Treasure Island: A Musical Panto, Twelfth Night, Juilliard School: John Barton's The Greeks: Part One, Perseverance Theater: Skin of Our Teeth, Theater Latte Da: Parade, Broadway (Associate): Fela!, Desire Under the Elms, A Bronx Tale, Mauritius, The Frogs, Aida, and Martin Guerre. Paul is also known for his commercial work for clients like Target Stores, Carlson Companies, Boston Scientific, Starkey Inc., Wells Fargo Bank, Life Touch, Arctic Cat, Microsoft, Children's Cancer Research Fund and Cargill. Paul received his M.F.A. from NYU Tisch and B.A. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
Shane Rettig (Sound Designer)New York: Bad Jews (Roundabout Underground), The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G, Alice in Slasherland (Vampire Cowboys), She Kills Monsters (The Flea), One Arm, Marie and Bruce, A Lie of the Mind, The Starry Messenger, Groundswell, Mourning Becomes Electra, Rafta, Rafta...,The Music Teacher (The New Group), The Sugar House at the Edge of the Universe, Microcrisis (Ma-Yi), Motel Cherry, Civilization: All You Can Eat, Dearest Eugenia Haggis (Clubbed Thumb), Photograph 51, Lenin's Embalmers, Marathon (EST), In the Footprint, Nobody's Lunch (The Civilians) Regional: Actors Theatre of Louisville, Arena Stage, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Center Stage, Dallas Theatre Center, La Jolla Playhouse, Williamstown, Yale Rep, NYU, Princeton, Juilliard and The New School. Prague Quadrennial. Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel Nominations. Faculty: Rutgers University
Shane VanVliet (Stage Manager) is thrilled to be in her fifth season at Portland Stage. Some of her other credits include stage managing with; The Berkshire Theater Group, The Theater at Monmouth, national and international tours with Jean Ann Ryan Productions, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Two Beans Productions, Theaterworks and The Radio City Rockettes. She has worked on numerous productions in New York with Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, Turtleshell Productions, T. Shcreiber Studios and The New York Fringe Festival as well as The Washington D.C. Fringe Festival and in her spare time, she Production Manages at The Altman Building, in New York City.