Popular Before Play talk to be held prior to each performance
RED BANK – Two River Theater Company concludes its 2011-2012 season with Alan Ayckbourn’s My Wonderful Day, directed by Nicholas Martin. Performances will begin May 15 and continue through June 3 in Two River’s Rechnitz Theater, 21 Bridge Ave.
In My Wonderful Day, a comedy about the British middle class, Ayckbourn looks at the adult world – with all of its foibles, and failed hopes and dreams – through the eyes of a child. Winnie Barnstairs, a nearly 9-year-old Anglo-Caribbean girl from south London, has a school assignment to write about her day. She is spending it with her mother, a house cleaner who works for a minor television celebrity. Instructed to get on with her homework, Winnie observes and records everything happening around her – even as the day turns into an increasingly frenetic domestic farce of marital infidelity, volcanic egos, and comic misunderstandings.
“Alan Ayckbourn is bitingly, yet lovingly, honest about the British middle class, which in this play is seen through the eyes of a watchful, Anglo-Caribbean child. And, he is always hilarious—which is why Nicholas Martin is the perfect director for this production,” Two River Theater Company Artistic Director John Dias said. “When I asked Nicky to come to Red Bank to work with us, I was astonished to learn that he had never directed Ayckbourn before. I think this is the perfect coming together of two great artists with enormous craft and exquisite comic sensibilities.”
Ayckbourn is an Olivier, Tony and Molière award-winning playwright who has written 76 plays. My Wonderful Day (number 73) premiered in 2009, the year of both the 50th anniversary of his first play, The Square Cat, and his 70th birthday. Between 1972 and 2009, he was the artistic director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, England, where the majority of his work has and continues to be premiered. His plays have been translated into 35 languages, won numerous awards nationally and internationally, and have been performed worldwide on stage and television.
Broadway credits for Martin, the director, include Present Laughter with Victor Garber, Butley with Nathan Lane, and Hedda Gabler with Kate Burton. His productions of plays by Christopher Durang include Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them (The Public Theater) and Betty’s Summer Vacation (Playwrights Horizons, for which he received an Obie Award). He will direct the world premiere of Durang’s Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike for McCarter Theatre and Lincoln Center Theater in the fall. He is the former artistic director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival in the Berkshires and of Boston’s Huntington Theatre Company.
The company includes Alison Cimmet (Tiffany), Kimberly Hébert Gregory (Laverne), Susan Heyward (Winnie), Kevin Isola (Josh), Danielle Skraastad (Paula),and Marc Vietor (Kevin).
Local “Ayckbourn expert” Michael T. Mooney will speak about Ayckbourn’s life and career in Two River’s popular Before Play series, a free lecture that takes place in the lobby before every performance in the Rechnitz Theater. Before Play starts 45 minutes prior to each performance and is sponsored by Zager Fuchs, PC.
Mooney is founder of New Jersey’s 4A’s – the Alan Ayckbourn Aficionados of America. He studied with Ayckbourn for five summers, and has staged the American premieres of four of his plays. He is the recipient of the 2008 New Jersey Governor’s Award for Arts Education and the 2003 Ann Klein Advocate Award for his work with senior citizens and people with disabilities.
Post-play discussions, hosted by an artistic staff member, will be held 7 p.m. May 23, 1 p.m. May 30 and 3 p.m. May 27. Single ticket prices start at $37. Discounts are available for groups, seniors, students, and patrons age 30 and younger. Tickets are available at 732-345-1400 or www.trtc.org. Two River Theater is fully wheelchair accessible and offers assisted-listening devices and large-print programs at every performance.
Audio-described performances are scheduled at 1 p.m. May 30 and 8 p.m. June 2. Tickets to those performances are offered at the discounted rate of $15 for patrons needing audio description.
An open-captioned performance is scheduled at 3 p.m. June 2. Tickets to this performance are offered at the discounted rate of $15. Reservations for patrons needing open caption or wheelchair-accessible seating or tickets for a performance listed above may call 732-345-1400.
Two River Theater recognizes Monmouth University as the Production Sponsor of My Wonderful Day and its Education Partner for the 2011-2012 Season. Two River Theater Company is supported in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a division within the Department of State and a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, The Hickory Foundation, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Stone Foundation of New Jersey, Monmouth University, Durso Wealth Management Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, OceanFirst Foundation, Springpoint Senior Living Foundation, and many other generous foundations, corporations and businesses.