@ The Black Box Theatre, 430 N. Main St.
 

Private Fears in Public Places

By Alan Ayckbourn, Directed by Ceil Herman

  • L to R: Imogen (Jessica Hernandez) and Stewart (Tony Cordova)
  • L to R: Ambrose (Algernon D'Ammassa) and Dan (Edwin Soto)
  • L to R: Charlotte (Kathi Jane Alverado) and Stewart (Tony Cordova)
  • Imogen (Jessica Hernandez)
  • L to R: Dan (Edwin Soto), Ambrose (Algernon D'Ammassa) and Imogen (Jessica Hernandez)
  • Nicola (Emily Campion)
  • L to R: Nicola (Emily Campion) and Dan (Edwin Soto)
  • L to R: Stewart (Tony Cordova) and Imogen (Jessica Hernandez)
  • L to R: Charlotte (Kathi Jane Alverado) and Ambrose (Algernon D'Ammassa)

Dec 02-Dec 18, 2011

FRI DEC 2,9,16| 8:00 PM
SAT DEC 3,10,17 | 8:00 PM
SUN DEC 11,18| 2:30 PM
THU DEC 15 | 7:00 PM

Description

The play has been described as six characters in search of a life. Nicola and Dan are searching for an apartment as their relationship falls apart. Stewart, their real estate agent, watches television in the evenings while his lonely sister Imogene goes on some terrible blind dates. Ambrose, the bartender has an ailing dad, Arthur, while Charlotte, the home help, is a fundamentalist with an secret interest in erotic dancing.

"Private Fears in Public Places" was written for performance by the Stephen Joseph Theatre Company late in the 2004 season. Ayckbourn's intention was to write a "film on stage" using fast cross-cutting between scenes. The play reproduces the cinematic effect of cutting from one scene to another through use of lighting, music, and mini-sets. The play was performed in-the-round for its original run at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in 2004 and later at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond in 2005. It was adapted for proscenium presentation for subsequent performance in New York. However, Alan Ayckbourn considered the play to be unsuited to larger theatres, to the point of eventually declining a transfer to a Broadway venue he considered too big, and was subsequently performed at a smaller theatre. The production received a glowing review from Charles Isherwood of The New York Times who called this play "The jewel of the Brits Off Broadway - it is rueful, funny, touching, and altogether wonderful." Following this, the play enjoyed commercial success, featuring on a number of critics' top 10 events in 2005.

NSTC's Artistic Director, Ceil Herman, who saw the performance at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond, felt that the Black Box Theatre was a perfect venue for a Las Cruces production and would provide the needed intimacy for this delightful play. The NSTC production features Kathi-Jane Alvarado as Charlotte, Emily Campion as Nicola, Tony Cordova as Stewart, Algernon D'Amassa as Ambrose, Ken Eastlack as Arthur, Jessica Hernandez as Imogen, and Edwin Soto as Dan. Lighting and Scenic Design is by Peter Herman and Costume Designer is Elaine Childs.

Director's Note

A few years ago, during our yearly trip to London, Peter and I were fortunate to see Private Fears in Public Places mounted by the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond. We have always enjoyed Alan Ayckborn's work and felt that this play would benefit by production in the intimacy of the Black Box Theatre.

Private Fears in Public Places was written for performance by the Stephen Joseph Theatre Company late in the 2004 season. Ayckbourn's intention was to write a "film on stage" using fast cross-cutting between scenes. The play reproduces the cinematic effect of cutting from one scene to another through use of lighting, music, and mini-sets. The play was performed in-the-round for its original run at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in 2004 and later at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond in 2005. It was adapted for proscenium presentation for subsequent performance in New York. However, Ayckbourn considered the play to be unsuited to larger theatres, to the point of eventually declining a transfer to a Broadway venue he considered too big, and was subsequently performed at a smaller theatre. The production received a glowing review from Charles Isherwood of The New York Times who called this play "The jewel of the Brits Off Broadway - it is rueful, funny, touching, and altogether wonderful." Following this, the play enjoyed commercial success, featuring on a number of critics' top 10 events in 2005.

I thank my amazingly creative actors and great production team for allowing me the pleasure and challenge of directing this wonderful play and Karen Currier for the exhibit in thetheatregallery. Enjoy!

Credits

Ambrose
Arthur
Charlotte
Dan
Imogen
Nicola
Stewart
Costume Designer
Director
Lighting And Scenic Design
Written By

Reviews


- By Gerald M. Kane , Las Cruces Bulletin

Alan Ayckbourn is an Olivier, Tony and Moliere award-winning playwright who has written 75 plays, more than half of which have been produced in London's West End as well as on Broadway and around the world.

As an acclaimed director, Ayckbourn has worked extensively in the West End and has also run his own company at the National Theatre. Between 1972 and 2009, he was the artistic director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre, in Scarborough, where the majority of his work has and continues to be premiered.

We can always count on the plays by Ayckbourn to be full of surprises, skillful character development, carefully crafted dialogue and unusual production features. "Private Fears in Public Places," the current offering at the Black Box Theatre, home of the No Strings Theatre Company, is no exception.

Originally produced in England in 2004, "Private Fears in Public Places" deals with universal themes of loneliness and family dysfunction, and speaks even louder today in our current social media-oriented world where more people would rather talk through machines than directly to each other.

Each of the six characters we see "publicly" on stage, and the one whose voice we hear offstage that appears for a curtain call, has a "private fear" - a "secret" that plays itself out through the course of the play. To go into detail would spoil your enjoyment and discovery of this ambitious and outstanding production. Suffice to say, all's not so well by the play's end, as each character continues living a life of quiet desperation.

"Private Fears in Public Places" is very "British" in feel and circumstance. Director Ceil Herman made the wise decision not to transport the venue of the play across the Atlantic. What this means is that her cast of seven needed to master and maintain effective British accents throughout their performances. They deliver their lines of Ayckbourne's insightful and incisive dialogue in chopped, rhythmic English cadence throughout. Try as I might, I didn't catch one single dialect slipup. The entire cast succeeded admirably.

Their performances capture the essence of the script in a way that the company transported this reviewer right to the West End of London. The genius of this production lies in the way in which Ayckbourne conceived the script as "film on stage." There are 53 scenes, along with a closing tableau. Including an intermission, the play runs for approximately two worthwhile and thought-provoking hours.

In order to make "Private Fears in Public Places" work successfully, scenes must be played out in the same limited stage space and yet serve as totally different venues.

According to Ceil Herman, this challenging cinematic effect is accomplished by cutting from one scene to another through use of lighting, music and mini-sets. Peter Herman, the resident lighting and scenic designer, Ceil Herman has outdone himself here. Coupled with sound design the overall effect is extraordinary.

Once again, the No Strings Theatre Company, under the inspired leadership of Ceil and Peter Herman shows us why they can certainly be called one of the brightest jewels in our community's cultural crown.

"Private Fears in Public Places" runs through Sunday, Dec. 18, at the Black Box Theatre, 430 N. Main St. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2:30 p.m. and a Thursday performance on Dec. 15 at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $10 regular admission, $9 students and seniors over 65 and all seats on Thursdays are $7. For reservations, call 523-1223.

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