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Farmington Valley Stage Company Presents a Trio of Short Plays from Area Author, Director

January 20, 2016 Arts and Entertainment, Community No Comments

Shows take place at Town Hall on Jan. 22, 23 and 24

By John Fitts 

While it has largely built its reputation on classic plays, Farmington Valley Stage Company is offering some different options this season, including a light-hearted musical review and three original shorts from a local author.

The latter takes place this weekend as the company performs three original works from Bloomfield resident Geoffrey Craig.

“I thought this would be kind of interesting,” said Doreen A. Cohn, producer for the shows and artistic director of the stage company. “We’re trying to have a variety in our season.”

In May of 2015, Craig attended the company’s production of “Five Women Wearing the Same Dress.” He took the opportunity to meet Cohn and show some of his work.

The company is not only producing three of Craig’s plays but also brought him on to direct and lead discussions following each performance.

Craig said he’s enjoyed the experience so far.

“It’s a wonderful company; I’ve really enjoyed working with them,” he said. “The cast is terrific. It’s been a real pleasure.”

Writing is a second career for Craig, who worked many years in the banking industry.

In 2000, a friend sent him poems that satirized election results in Florida and Craig found himself trying it himself.

It wasn’t long before he was doing much more writing, which he hadn’t done much since attending college in the 1960s.

In 2008, the Center for Performing Arts in Rhinebeck, NY produced his play “The Medal,” his own story that he adapted for the stage.

In 2013, Craig make his directorial debut when a small theater in Manhattan accepted his play and the original director had a conflict.

“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “I really enjoyed it.”

In all four, theater companies have produced four of Craig’s full-length plays, one of which was co-authored. Additionally, after this weekend, 10 of his short plays will have been performed publicly. He has also written stories in verse and recent released his first prose novel, Scudder’s Gorge, which will also be available at the performances.

Craig, who served in the Peace Corps and has degrees in history, isn’t afraid to take on a variety of subject matter.

The three plays this weekend run the emotional gamut. Mother and daughter involves a story about family scars, development issues, social acceptability and emotional wounds.

Teddy Alamar, Ron Blanchette and Betsy Bradley play members of the Palmer family in Geoffrey Craig's "Hoax," a play about a future drastically altered by climate change.  Photo by John Fitts

Teddy Alamar, Ron Blanchette and Betsy Bradley play members of the Palmer family in Geoffrey Craig’s “Hoax,” a play about a future drastically altered by climate change.
Photo by John Fitts

“Hoax,” set in the year 2034, involves a scenario under which those warning of climate change were correct. The United States is divided into two territories and the measures that people – and leaders – take to try and survive and retain control is simply frightening. The play was partially inspired by Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, in addition to current debates over the issue of climate.

“Current issues do a play a role in my work,” Craig said.

The night ends on a lighter note with “Divorce First Class.” The couple that is splitting up looks at the scenario amicably enough and are still attracted to each other. However, the attorneys involved manage to set off more contentious feelings.

“Who doesn’t know a few lawyer jokes?” Craig said.

The cast includes performers from the Farmington Valley as well as surrounding towns, including  Jacqueline Davis (Bloomfield), Stephanie Chernoff (Simsbury), Phil Godeck (East Windsor/Windsor), Ron Blanchette (Ellington), Margaret Afheldt (Simsbury), Tim Guay (Farmington), Betsy Bradley (New Britain), Bill Quinn (Farmington), Roberta Avery Quinn (Farmington), Hannah Davies (Avon), Teddy Alamar (Avon).  Kayla Zantow (Simsbury) is Assistant Director and Stage Manager.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22 and Saturday, Jan. 23 at 8 pm and at 2 p.m. on Jan. 24. Running time is approximately 2 hours. Suggested audience: 13 and older. Tickets are $18 adults, $16 students/seniors in Advance online and $20/$18 at the door. Each performance will be followed by a discussion with Craig and the cast.

The Farmington Valley Stage Company is a non-profit theater company located in the Canton Town Hall in the center of picturesque Collinsville. A vision of the late Howard Hirsch, the company has produced more than a dozen productions since 2012. For more information and to purchase advance tickets, visit www.fvstage.org.

To see a full-screen gallery of the production rehearsals visit https://johnfitts.smugmug.com/FVSC-A-Trio-of-Short-Plays/

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