Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Woman in Black: Director's Perspective by Jessica Callahan Gelter

Proud and solitary, Eel Marsh House surveys the windswept reaches of the salt marshes beyond Nine Lives Causeway.  Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor, is summoned to attend the funeral of Mrs. Alice Drablow, the house’s sole inhabitant, unaware of the tragic secrets, which lie hidden behind the shuttered windows.  It is not until he glimpses a wasted young woman dressed all in black at the funeral, that a creeping sense of unease begins to take hold.  This feeling is deepened by the reluctance of the locals to talk of the woman in black – and her terrible purpose. And so, the story unfolds.

Years later, in a desperate attempt to exorcise the ghosts of the past, Arthur Kipps hires an actor to tutor him in recounting to family and friends a story that has long troubled him concerning events that transpired when he attended the funeral of an elderly recluse. The play unfolds around the conversations of these two characters as they act out the Arthur’s experiences on Eel Marsh all those years ago.

The play is an adaptation of a 1983 gothic novel by Susan Hill.  The book has also been adapted for a movie starring Daniel Radcliffe; but, although based on the same source, their interpretations of the story are quite different from each other.   

The production premiered in London's West End in 1989 and is still being performed there, becoming the second longest-running non-musical play in the history of the West End, after The Mousetrap. [1]

Vermont Theatre Company's production of The Woman in Black features Clark Glennon (Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing) and Richard Epstein (Rev. T. Lawrence Shannon in Night of the Iguana, and Dwight in Dead Man's Cell Phone), and is directed by Jessica Callahan Gelter.

To enhance the production experience, Vermont Theatre Company has rented the gallery at the Hooker- Dunham Theater and Gallery as well, and is hosting selected photos from David Mazor's advanced photography class.  Imagery in the photographs is haunting and lends itself to an air of otherworldliness, just as the play does.  Join VTC on Friday, January 4, from 5-7:00 P.M. for a Gallery Walk reception.  Dancers Zoe Perra and Sarah Craver will perform throughout the evening on the Hooker-Dunham Theater stage.

Quotes from the director:
  • "I chose this play because it seemed like it would be a delightful challenge.  I've directed Shakespearean dramas and comedies and histories; children’s' theater; a musical; farces; Commedia; contemporary drama; and new, ensemble-created, metaphor-driven adaptations of classic literature, dreams, and art. But I have never directed a ghost play - there really aren't many out there."
  • "I fell in love with Poe when I was very young, and I really relished those stories that gave you chills and made you wonder what was out there in the darkness."
  • "There is something very basic, human, and visceral about fear.  I think fear makes us human, and confronting it allows us to understand our own fragility, mortality."
  • "The framework of this play really appealed to me because I love the idea of processing trauma through storytelling, and that is what the character of Arthur Kipps is trying to do.  This sort of therapeutic sharing is an ancient practice and sharing one's own trauma can help others grow and move on from their own."

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Moon Over Buffalo

The Vermont Theatre Company presents Ken Ludwig’s Moon Over Buffalo, November 30th – December 2nd and December 7th – 9th at the Dummerston Evening Star Grange, Dummerston, VT.
From the man who wrote Lend Me a Tenor, Moon Over Buffalo tells the story of The Hays, a family of traveling actors struggling to make it from the stage to the big screen. Set in 1953 in the green room of the Erlanger Theater of Buffalo, NY, Charlotte and George Hay are jaded by their disappointing careers. But when they find out that renowned movie director Frank Capra is considering them for roles in his upcoming film, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and is coming to the Erlanger to see them, everything that could go wrong does. Do not miss this fast paced tale of secret love affairs, weathermen, mistaken identities, dreams of stardom, and pants.
Moon Over Buffalo was written in 1995, only a few years after Lend Me a Tenor won three Tony Awards. It opened on Broadway featuring Carol Burnett in the starring role of Charlotte Hay and Philip Bosco as George Hay. Both Carol and Philip earned Tony nominations for their performances.Moon Over Buffalo later opened in London under the title Over the Moon. The Boston Herald saidMoon Over Buffalo “… is nothing less than a love letter to live theater.”
Directed by Michelle Page, the cast of Moon Over Buffalo includes Carlton Smith as the fabulous Charlotte Hay. Beside her, Jim Bombicino wreaks havoc and chaos as George Hay. Nell Curley, as the Hay’s daughter, Rosalind, who has left the stage, returns for a visit with her nervous fiancĂ©, Howard, portrayed by Ian Mahoney. Also featured are James Gelter as Paul, Rosalind’s ex boyfriend who now works as the stage manager for the company, Amanda Rink as the young ingĂ©nue Eileen, Bruce Holloway as the Hay’s lawyer, Richard, and Sue Rowell as Charlotte’s nearly deaf mother Ethel. Mike Shedd will be the technical director, and Brenda Seitz will stage manage with Kate Maisner as Assistant Stage Manager.
Evening performances at the Dummerston Evening Star Grange are at 7:30 pm and the two Sunday matinees begin at 3:00pm. Tickets are $12 for general admission and $10 for senior citizens and students. There will be an American Sign Language interpreted performance on Sunday December 2nd.
Reservations can be made by calling the VTC box office at 802-258-1344 or by

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

VTC Announces "Murder in Vegas"

The Vermont Theatre Company announces another of their popular mystery
dinner theatre productions, this year a Las Vegas wedding and murder,
“Viva Las Vegas”, to be presented at the Dummerston Grange in Dummerston,
VT on September 21 and 22.

It’s rocking Las Vegas and it appears that love has won out in the battle
of wills between the spoiled Virgen White and her controlling and
brilliant father, Pearly Gates Gamboling Emporium owner Blackjack White.
E.Z. Ryder, the rakish groom and ex-Ghosts of Hell biker, has sworn that
he is ready to give up his wild life for wedded bliss. Standing in front
of the tiny Love Me Tender Chapel, accompanied by her mother, Dee Vorst,
the beautiful blushing bride Virgen and the leather-clad E.Z. are about to
say “I do” just as Blackjack White storms in and shouts “You won’t!” In a
town famous for glitzy style, quick weddings and even quicker bucks, this
tawdry scene is not uncommon. As dancing showgirl Ruby Lipps and handsome
music legend Rock King witness, the fire and brimstone preacher Reverend
Hal Fyre proceeds to utter his “Do you Virgen White...” Just then a
scuffle ensues, a shot rings out, and the father of the bride cashes in
his chips. It is up to Sheriff Sam Stone to sift through the clues, and
with the audience’s help, to bring the murderer to justice.

So come join in the excitement and dine on a delicious meal prepared by
David’s Catering of Putney, followed by a thrilling murder-mystery
performance. Come dressed for the occasion if you wish to, but remember,
what happens in Vegas may not always stay in Vegas! The doors will open at
5:30 and the dinner begins at 6:00 pm. Tickets are $30 per person (which
includes the dinner and the evening’s entertainment). Reservations and
advanced payments are required. To make reservations call 802-258-1344 or
email [ ]
Seating is limited so be sure to reserve today.