Arsenic & Old Lace A play by Joseph KesselringDirected by Beulah Vega
AUGUST 17 through September 2, 2012 One late afternoon in September, in an old Victorian house in Brooklyn, we meet the sweet and caring Brewster sisters, Abby and Martha. Beneficiaries of their grandfather and father’s good fortune and shrewd moves, the sisters have no shortage of funds and no hesitation to be as “charitable” as possible to a variety of causes … including their desire to help lonely old men by bringing an end to their solitude. The play is a farcical black comedy that revolves around Mortimer Brewster, the nephew of Abby and Martha, who must deal with his crazy, homicidal family and his recent promise to marry Elaine Harper, the proverbial minister’s daughter with whom he has fallen in love. In the midst of his confusion and anxiety, he also must deal with a brother who believes he is Teddy Roosevelt digging locks for the Panama Canal in the cellar of their home, and a murderous brother who has received plastic surgery from an alcoholic accomplice, Dr. Einstein. In the midst of this family circus, we meet a variety of other characters who seemingly are oblivious to the calamity around them. Narrow Way Stage has the good fortune to have Beulah Vega directing a talented cast to present this hilarious comedy, originally written by Joseph Kesselring in 1939 and brought to the stage in 1941. Beulah has directed for Narrow Way Stage (Richard III) and Pegasus Theatre (Sylvia), and has been active in Sonoma County theatre for over ten years. Assisting Beulah is Alexis E. Long, a NWSC regular in her first directing role. Lois Pearlman (Abby) and Cat Bish (Martha) portray the Brewster sisters, while Freddie Lambert has the part of Mortimer Brewster. Other characters include Nick Christenson as Teddy Brewster, Alexis E. Long as Elaine Harper, Peter Peringer-Batten as Jonathan Brewster, Charles Fanucchi as Dr. Einstein, Kyle Ryan as Officer Klein, Al Christenson as Dr. Rev. Harper/Mr. Witherspoon, Nick McCook as Officer O’Hara, and Tom Lowrie as Mr. Gibbs/Lt. Rooney. Arsenic & Old Lace was Joseph Kesselring’s most popular play, and it played on Broadway three and one half years, from 1941 through mid-1944. In late 1944 it opened as a movie starring Cary Grant as Mortimer. While Kesselring taught at Bethel College in Kansas, he lived in a boarding house and many of the features of its living room are reflected in the play. The original plot line may have been inspired by actual events that occurred in a house in Windsor, Connecticut where a woman took in boarders and allegedly poisoned them for their pensions. Originally written as a heavy drama, it is widely believed that the producers of the play (Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse) convinced Kesselring that it would be much more effective as a comedy. The play is still performed, recently at the Dallas Theatre Center, and is performed around the world in many languages. Bring a friend and enjoy the laughs as you watch the refined mayhem in the Brewster home!About Narrow Way Stage Company: Narrow Way Stage Company is a theatre company founded with the purpose of providing the Sonoma County communities with honest, progressive and provocative theatre, create educational opportunities for youth and to support a space in which the performing arts can thrive. In pursuit of these objectives, Narrow Way Stage Company embraces the following Core Values: • Providing quality works with honesty and integrity • Strive towards educating youth in theatre arts • To develop a niche for actors and artists to thrive in their craft • To facilitate unity with our community, including neighboring theatre companies, and • To honor the audience, the artists and our staff. For tickets, call the Spreckels Box Office at 707 588-3400. Box Office hours are Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5:00 PM.
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