My wife and I had a treat last night – a rare night out on the town (okay, Albany) – dinner, a show and drinks with a great friend. The show is Red Maple and it’s closing – and mostly sold out for – this weekend. The show is by Capital Region playwright and actor David Bunce and is a fun, funny and meaningful piece about four people growing into middle age and realizing they need more from Life – and that that “more” may already lie right in front of them – in their existing spouse.
One of our great friends – and one of our favorite actors – Oliver Wadsworth – stars in it, along with Yvonne Perry, Julia Knitel, Elizabeth Meadows Rouse, and James Lloyd Reynolds. Oliver is always so funny and compelling to watch on stage, because of his timing, his humor and his open heart. He starred in Eric Coble’s The Velocity of Autumn here at Hubbard Hall last season, which I directed.
I’m thrilled to see Capital Rep producing new work – and to produce new work by a local artist is especially thrilling and important. Too many of the arts in our region have become touring productions – lovely 2nd, 3rd string national tours that delight audiences but are the usual quick sugar high that lead nowhere to having a substantial arts scene or communal dialogue about issues important to us. We need much more generative work here in the Capital Region in order to grow and sustain our own local artistry – and to become a place that sends work out of our region and throughout the country. Red Maple is certainly an attractive piece for any regional or resident theater company – a five person comedy and perfect date night exploit that focuses on the comedy and challenges of middle age. Bravo to Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill, the Rep’s Producing Artistic Director, for producing this world-premiere piece and to Margaret E. Hall, Assistant Producing Artistic Director, for directing it so wonderfully. And to David Bunce for writing it.
Every time we do new work here at the Hall, it breaks new ground and starts a new conversation with our audience. And sets the stage for greater growth of our local artists and audiences.
Here’s to more new work!