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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Hey New Hampshire!

a friend of mine's plays are running this weekend at the player's ring! I had the great pleasure of reading one of the plays before it found its way to stage, and I know you are in for a real treat!



Body: That's right, kids - one more weekend! Don't miss the fun!!!

Three more nights: Friday and Saturday at 10:30pm and Sunday at 9:30. Don't forget to call and reserve tickets!! 603 436 8123.

Stay up past your bedtime at Players' Ring
By Tim Robinson
July 03, 2008 6:00 AM

The Players' Ring opened its' 2008 Late Night Summer Series this past weekend with "Evening Broadcasts," a collection of one act plays written and directed by Jacquelyn Benson. This show is arguably by far the best production to grace the Ring's stage in quite a long while. The three plays make up quite a long show for a late night slot, running two hours in length. Its quality and talent should have made it a shoo-in candidate for the regular season. But if you have the stamina for it, it is well worth the time and money.

The first of the three plays on stage is entitled "Death and the 1889 Columbian Herpetological Expedition." The title alone should be enough to give you a heads up that Benson's work isn't going to turn out to be 'normal' by any manner of means. 'A tale of terror and thrills set in a remote scientific research station in the jungles of Columbia' so says the program. What you get is a rather manic Monty Pythonesque vision of life with three researchers in deepest darkest South America: Bennett (Bill O'Donnell) a young researcher, Mallory (Glen Provost) a taxidermist and the famous Swedish Zoologist Professor Carl Gustafson (G. Matthew Gaskell.) Gaskell's character is bitten by a venomous frog, the consequences of which form the central, and only, plot line, with Provost and O'Donnell vainly trying to cure him and avoid the same fate for the rest of the show. Gaskell is a tad bit the archetypal scene stealer here, which, given that all he has to say are two words of supposed Swedish, is quite an achievement.

Second on stage is "The Shores of Lake Parima." Described as 'A most woeful story of death, poetry and other such unpleasant sorts of things' the story line is knit around a meeting between Sir Walter Raleigh (Chuck Galle) and his old friend Henry Percy (Roland Goodbody), a notably treasonous Earl. This one is in a much more serious vain but equally well directed and performed. If there are any problems they lie in two simple things. Firstly the fight scene really needs to be shorter and tighter to truly be believable.

Secondly it is a little problematical to write a story set so definitely in England, a conversation between two Englishmen, and then cast one real Englishman and one American and not allow for how wrong some colloquialisms sound in the wrong accent!

Last but not least is the finest of the three works, "And the Angels Sang." Right after intermission this piece is definitely worth sticking around for. Utilizing all of the cast members this one has a curious tale to tell; 'if you were given knowledge from the future, would you act to prevent a disaster from happening or not?' Five men are sat around a work table in an armament factory in a small Italian town, making bullets and listening to an erratically functioning radio. It is Sept. 1, 1939. Date ring a bell? The struggle to believe what they hear on the radio and then translate into a concrete plan of action is tangible. Each of the actors brings something to the table here that contributes to the success of this work.

Each of the component offerings of the evening pose different problems to be solved by the director, and Benson seems to dispose of all of them. The settings are simple and effective using only a minimum of tables, chairs and personal props which makes for an ease of transition between shows. If you are up for a late night the Ring is definitely the place to be.

WHAT Evening Broadcasts written and Directed by Jacquelyn Benson

WHEN Friday, Saturday at 10:30 p.m., and Sunday at 9:30 p.m., July 4, 5 and 6.

WHERE The Players' Ring, 105 Marcy St.

, Portsmouth

COST $10 members, $12 non-members; Seniors and students: $8 members, $10 non-members

CONTACT 436-8123, www. playersring. org

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