Each season, Weston lives up to the challenge of producing a schedule that appeals to a wide-ranging audience. Family-friendly events, blockbuster musicals, and masterworks are off-set by critically-acclaimed contemporary plays making waves off and on Broadway. American playwright Sharr White delivers one of these hot, new works in The Other Place and we’re excited to have it open on our OtherStages this week!
A witty and complex drama, the story unravels the experience of successful neurologist Juliana Smithton, mother of one and recent divorcee. Her life, at the start, seems to be coming unhinged. Smithton is played by Susan Haefner, while her husband Ian is played by David Bonanno. Haefner and Bonanno are veterans of the Weston Company who’ve worked opposite one another on at least fifteen productions.
Interestingly enough, Bonanno and Haefner will be reprising these roles, having appeared together last year in the Shaker Bridge Theatre production of White’s Broadway hit. With respect to the reprisal, both agree that it’s easier and more interesting the second time around. As Haefner explained, “there is an opportunity to deepen the performance, and enrich it,” since the mechanics are well in hand. Bonanno added that they “get to dig a little deeper and discover new things, in the company of two new actors” (Joe Osheroff and Tracy Michailidis.)
Because The Other Place is a new work, the cast and creative team are excited to bring something surprising and unexpected to Weston. Director Tim Fort told us that he is thrilled to have the right play, cast, and venue to present something special to the regular audience, while also expanding the theatrical community and challenging his actors. As we mentioned above, Bonanno and Haefner are joined by Osheroff, who has appeared in five Weston seasons, and Michailidis, who was seen in Weston’s productions of The Mikado and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Fort says he’s thrilled to be collaborating with these four. “There is so much positive history among us that solving the mysteries of this complicated play really becomes a conversation among close friends.”
The intensity, complexity, and the economy of the script are a few of the things Haefner and Bonanno really like about the work. Susan describes White’s writing as not including “a wasted comma, and, [or] but” and David applauds the writer’s strategic selection of what to share — and not share — with the audience. “It’s a bit of roller coaster ride. You get on it and an hour and twenty later, you pull back into the station and you’re like, ‘Oh my god what was that? Incredible!’ because it’s so well constructed. You’re right along for the ride, from start to finish.”
Before you see the show, hear what Haefner and Bonanno have to say… about their work together, past and present, about why they choose Weston as the place to call home, and also (how could we resist?) about how they really feel about what should go on top of one’s pizza.
The Other Place is sponsored in part by Manchester Designer Outlets and runs July 23 – August 9 at 982 Route 100S in Weston. Showtimes: Tuesday – Saturday at 7:30 pm, Saturday at 2 pm, and Sunday at 3 pm. If you’re up for a brilliant change of pace, see you at the show!