by Peter Shaffer
Directed by Steve Aguirre
815 Market St, Lewisburg
THREE PERFORMANCES ONLY!
Friday, November 10, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 11, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 12, 2017, 2:30 p.m.
LEWISBURG – RiverStage will kick off its new season with the British comedy Black Comedy by Peter Shaffer on November 10, 11 and 12. Performances will be at Greenspace Center (a.k.a. the Old Lewisburg High School), 815 Market Street on Friday, November 10 and Saturday, November 11 at 7:30pm, and Sunday, November 12 at 2:30pm. Tickets are $15 for general admission seating with discounts available for groups and season subscriptions, and they can be purchased at the door, by phone at 570-989-0848 or here at www.riverstagetheatre.org/tickets/order.
Black Comedy by Peter Shaffer debuted in 1965 and tells the story of a lovesick and desperate young sculptor, Brindsley Miller. Hoping to impress his fiancee’s pompous father and a visiting art collector in one night, he has filled his London apartment with expensive furniture and artworks “borrowed” from his vacationing next-door neighbor. But early that evening, a fuse blows, plunging the entire building into total darkness. While Brindsley is busy dealing with his fiancée, her father, the art collector, the power outage, a repairman, and a surprise visit from his ex-girlfriend, the neighbor also arrives home early, unaware that his furniture is gone. The resulting drama is a race against time and masterpiece of physical comedy as the young artist rushes around in the dark to restore the apartment to its original condition and save his relationships in the process. Black Comedy has been called “a dazzling comic ballet” and “one of the most brilliant short plays in the English language,” and various London and Broadway productions over the years have starred such legends as Maggie Smith, Albert Finney, Michael Crawford, Ian McKellen and David Tennant.
“Black Comedy is a great gimmick comedy where we use ‘reversed’ lighting,” says director Steve Aguirre. “Most of the action takes place during a power outage at night in a small apartment, and although we keep the stage lights on, the characters on stage must act as if they can’t see each other, or anything in the room. Since the plot involves a lot of physical comedy—characters trying to move furniture around, or keep from bumping into each other, or keep their presence in the room a secret—it’s amazing to watch it unfold live on stage. We hope everyone comes out and takes advantage of the chance to see this great show; we know you’ll get a great laugh out of it.”
The show features a dedicated cast of local actors, including two appearing in their first RiverStage production: Nate Stosius as Brindsley and Bradley Dennis as the neighbor, Harold. Brandy Aguirre, who played Mabel in RiverStage’s The Pirates of Penzance this summer, plays Brindsley’s fiancée Carol, and her father, Colonel Melkett, is played by Glenn Wilson, who has appeared in several RiverStage shows including Fools, All My Sons and Picasso at the Lapin Agile. Brindsley’s ex-girlfriend Clea is played by Desirae Mausteller who played Mary Turner in last summer’s Of Thee I Sing, and the cast is rounded out by Sarah Bell (as Miss Furnival), Andrew Shaffer (as Schuppanziagh), and Emrys Smith (Mr. Bamberger). Set design is led by Peter Wiley, Dennis Merkle and Jove Graham, with lighting design by Rosalind Elise Parenzan, sound by Stefan Eisenhower and stage management by Emily Gibson and Megan Desmond.
RiverStage Community Theatre was founded in 2003 as a nonprofit group of artists committed to bringing top-notch theatre to the Greater Susquehanna Valley and partnered with Gaspipe Theatre Company in 2016 to produce full, multifaceted seasons of shows. Black Comedy will be their 36th production and the season will then continue with The Bad Seed in February, a festival of new one-act plays in April, A Streetcar Named Desire in June, and concluding with a free outdoor production of Shakespeare in summer 2018.
“[One of] the funniest and most brilliant short plays in the language.” – London Sunday Times
“Laughter mounts steadily.” – The New York Times
“A dazzling comic ballet.” – New York Daily News
“It is still possible to laugh yourself into a hernia watching Black Comedy.” – USA Today
“An orgy of blind slapstick brilliantly sustained.”- Sunday Express