Midcoast Actors’ Studio has begun making solid stakes in the Belfast arts community. After three seasons of ground-breaking productions, Artistic Director Jason Bannister feels confident that 2015 will be a banner year for the theater company.
“MAS has taken center stage,” says Bannister, referring to the success of Midcoast Actors’ Studio in the theater arts community of midcoast Maine. Bannister has been ambitious and bold in choosing a full, year-round season of four productions for 2015. They include Venus in Fur in February, Skylight in May, The Servant of Two Masters in September, and Good People in December.
MAS’s first production is David Ives’ Venus in Fur. Thomas (Tyler Johnstone), a beleaguered playwright/director, is desperate to find an actress to play Vanda, the female lead in his adaptation of the classic sadomasochistic tale Venus in Fur. Into his empty audition room walks a vulgar and equally desperate actress—oddly enough, named Vanda (Johannah Blackman). Though utterly wrong for the sophisticated part, Vanda exhibits a strange command of the material, piquing Thomas’ interest with her seductive talents and secretive manner. As the two work through the script, they blur the line between play and reality, entering into an increasingly serious game of submission and domination that only one of them can win. A mysterious, funny, erotic drama that represents yet another departure for the multifaceted David Ives. Venus in Fur is directed by Robin Jones and runs February 13 – March 1 at the Playhouse on Church Street in Belfast.
Skylight, is written by David Hare. On a bitterly cold London evening, schoolteacher Kyra Hollis (Crys Bruschi) receives an unexpected visit from her former lover, Tom Sergeant (James Clayton), a successful and charismatic restaurateur whose wife has recently died. As the evening progresses, the two attempt to rekindle their once passionate relationship only to find themselves locked in a dangerous battle of opposing ideologies and mutual desires. It also stars Owen Scoville as Tom’s son, Edward. Skylight was originally produced at the National Theatre in 1995, before transferring to the West End and Broadway, won an Olivier Award for Best Play and was Tony nominated for best play, actress, actor, and director. It is directed by Jason Bannister and runs May 15–31 in Belfast.
The Servant of Two Masters, written by Carlos Goldoni in 1743 and adapted by Constance Congdon, is a comical blend of the Italian classic Commedia dell’arte and contemporary performance styles that tells the story of the outrageous and wily servant, Truffaldino (Bannister), who secretly signs on with two masters simultaneously. Complete with masks and slapstick comedy, this is a show that aims to please. Also starring Nicole Provonsil, Leah Darcy, Jay Rosenberg, Tyler Johnstone, Sonia Vazquez, Robert Daisey, Jen Wendell, Patricia and Latricia Saucier. Directed by John Potter, the Maine Premiere of this play runs September 11–27.
The final production of 2015 is David Lindsay-Abaire’s Good People. Tony nominated for best play in 2011 and winning best actress (Frances McDormand), Good People “is that rare play that is both timeless and completely keyed into a specific moment in American life—without the need to grasp for topicality. Bringing the same clear-eyed emotional observation that distinguished his Pulitzer winner, Rabbit Hole, Lindsay-Abaire has crafted another penetrating drama about deeply relatable issues, albeit this time with more warming doses of humor.” (Hollywood Reporter) Robin Jones directs this show that runs December 4 -20.
In addition to the four mainstage productions MAS is planning some additional fundraising events. One of which is True Stories, where people will share their storytelling abilities in a relaxed intimate setting at Waterfall Arts on Saturday, April 25 at 7:00. They are also planning a live old time radio play in the summer. Stay tuned for additional fundraising events and stage readings.
Tickets for all shows are $15 for adults and $12 for seniors/students. For more information about Midcoast Actors’ Studio, the 2015 season and tickets, as well as how you can become a supporter, call the box office at 207-370-7592, email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit midcoastactors.org or on Facebook.