logo In the Wings
The Newsletter of The Concord Players
October 2018
                                   Amanda Casale, Editor 
Like mother like son. It doesn't always happen, but for Doug Sanders, director of the Concord Players upcoming production of Tom Stoppard's genius opus Arcadia, it bears some truth. Sanders was introduced to theater when he was barely out of toddlerhood by a mother who was active in community theater. Those early years "hanging around backstage" led him to a long career of his own in community theater, and now he's bringing that experience to his role as director of one of the most complex, intellectual and funny scripts ever to land on the boards.
Tom Stoppard's much lauded Arcadia travels back and forth between 200 years, exploring erudite questions around chaos theory, the second law of thermodynamics, and the works of poet Lord Byron and the much more elemental "carnal embrace." Described as nothing less than "dazzling" and acclaimed by many critics as "the finest play from one of the most significant contemporary playwrights in the English language," Arcadia was named one of the best science related works ever written by the Royal Institution of Great Britain in 2016. Heady plaudits indeed, but we've come to expect it from one of the most brilliant playwrights of our time.  
Directing the master work of a genius might intimidate some, but Sanders is up to the challenge. "The plays I am attracted to are first and foremost wonderful to read," he says. "I am a huge fan of the literature of theater, and any chance to work on a play by a master is time well-spent. So, having Stoppard be the playwright is a big selling point right off the bat for me." It isn't just the literature that pulls him in, though: "...with this play, more than many of his [Stoppard's] other great works, I feel he's done a wonderful job of melding the ideas with vibrant characters, with a theatricality that is well-earned and provides a visceral payoff. Plus, I'm a nerd, and this work appeals to that side of me, too..."  
About those vibrant characters: Sanders' style will help his actors bring them to vivid color and full dimension on the stage. He sees the process as an ongoing collaboration, an opportunity for shared learning and the chance to blend many perspectives into a cohesive whole. "I always see new things about a character from what the actor is doing, sensing and feeling... They have a unique relationship to the people in the play, that I don't get to experience the way that they do," he explains. "From the follow-up conversation, I get a perspective that helps deepen the reality of the play. The other thing that I have learned from actors is that often if a scene isn't working, it has to do with us not getting to the truth of the moment."  
Arcadia's truths are largely in the questions it asks, so in that regard we can trust that Sanders' technique will serve this production well. He brings impressive bona fides to the task, having performed all through high school, college and into his adult life, inhabiting some challenging roles: Sam in Lips Together, Teeth Apart at Vokes (he had to take a shower on-stage) and in She Stoops to Conquer (Marlowe, 18th century comedy). He strode the Players' boards more than 20 years ago in Broadway Bound.

Broadway Bound - 1991 (Top Left: Doug Sanders)

When he moved from acting to directing, he jumped in with both feet. He has co-directed with the much commended Donnie Baillergeon at Vokes theater, managing to actually get a train onto the venue's tiny stage for On the Twentieth Century, and directed Ibsen's nuanced Hedda Gabler, also at Vokes. "It was a fabulous translation of the play, and we had an incredible group of people interpreting it," he recalls.

His credentials as a "nerd" are also well suited to this play. As a lover of both literature and theater, he has deep respect for the words of the playwright and is taking special care to be sure the cast can appropriately employ the "dense" language of the script to make the scientific and mathematical ideas being conveyed are accessible to the audience.

Rehearsals are underway for Arcadia, and Sanders is already employing his systematic approach to bringing the story to life. "I get the play 'on its feet' (get all the blocking done) as soon as I can, so we can start doing scene work ASAP.  From there, I swap between stop/start work and scene runs to rework moments in different ways.  As the rehearsals progress, we learn new things about the scene, the relationships, the characters, and if we're doing a comedy, we learn more about making moments funnier."

"The Concord Players enjoy an embarrassment of riches on all fronts," says Players president and Arcadia cast member Jay Newlon. "But our real wealth is in the talent we have been lucky enough to harness over the years. Everyone who works here brings the undiluted passion for theater we all share. Having Doug Sanders direct this great play is an example of our very good luck and further enriches us all." 

Arcadia runs November 2nd-17th.  Tickets go on sale soon at www.concordplayers.org .
Announcing auditions for The Concord Players' winter production of The Country House by Donald Margulies, directed by Mark Baumhardt.  The performance dates are February 8, 9, 15, 16, 17 (matinee), 22, and 23.  There are six characters: Susie Keegan (21, a college student), Walter Keegan (66, a successful film and stage director), Anna Patterson (the matriarch, a great and famous actress, Susie's grandmother), Elliot Cooper (44, a failed actor and aspiring playwright), Michael Astor (45, a charismatic actor and longtime family friend), and Nell McNally (early 40s, Walter's new actress girlfriend).  It takes place in the Berkshires in the summer, and the time is the present.  Further information and audition forms will be up shortly on the website, along with signup information.  The audition dates are Sunday, November 4th and Wednesday, November 7th at 7:00pm.  Callbacks will be on Sunday, November 11th at 7:00.  For further information, contact Susan Tucker (producer) at tshabet3@gmail.com.  Website information will be up soon!  

The princesses are throwing a holiday ball - and YOU'RE invited!  As inspired by Laura Osnes and Benjamin Rauhala, join 20 of your royal favorites (and some special guests) for a Broadway Princess Holiday Party at 51 Walden on Saturday, December 22nd at 2pm! 

Featuring a cabaret of solos, duets, mash-ups, and medleys of some of your favorite musical numbers, the party is sure to be fun for the whole family.  Several Concord Players members will be performing, including Amanda Casale, Monica Wright, Daniel Monopoli, Benjamin Oehlkers, David Rodrigues, and several others.  The party will also feature princess-inspired gifts, food, cocoa, egg nog, and a surplus of magical holiday spirit. 
Get your ballgown out of the closet, dust off that tiara, and make your way to 51 Walden for a Broadway Princess Holiday Party you will never forget! Tickets can be reserved on the Concord Players website, and purchased at the door for $15 (cash or check only).  A wonderful time will be had by all the fairest guests in the land! 
Have you ordered your subscription yet?  Tickets for Arcadia will go on sale very soon!  Order a subscription for all three shows.  The rate of $58 is 20% off the combination of individual ticket prices, and you can request a seat assignment before they go on sale to the general public.  Don't miss out on this wonderful season!  Visit our website to get your subscription today. 
Violet:  Concord Players member Bob Pascucci will be performing in the ensemble of Violet at Arlington Friends of the Drama, running September 21st-October 7th.

Taking Steps:  Concord Players member Andrew Harrington will be performing as Roland in Taking Steps at The Quannapowitt Players, running September 28th-October 13th.

My Fair Lady:  Several Concord Players members (John Alzapiedi, Kate Beattie, John Lynch, Connie Benn, and Erika Wilde) can be seen in Theatre III's production of My Fair Lady this October, running October 12th-27th.

Flemming:  Concord Players member Diana Doyle will be performing in the comedy Flemming with the Walpole Footlighters, running October 19th-November 4th.

Hansel and GretelConcord Players President Jay Newlon has accepted the position of choreographer for Opera51's December production of Hansel and Gretel - details to come soon!

October 12 and 13, 2018 at 8 p.m.  The Concord Orchestra Fall Concert.  Randall Hodgkinson performs Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 2.  Also on the program is Maskerade Overture by Nielson and Schubert's Symphony No. 9.  Tickets $30 for center sections, $25 for side sections, $10 for kids and students under 21.  Call (978) 369-4967 or purchase on-line.

October 20, 2018 at 8 p.m.  The Concord Band Fall Concert: Celebrating Our Heritage.  North Bridge Portrait by Stephen Bulla, Triumphant Entrance by Warren Baker, both commissioned by the Band, and Folk Dances by Shostakovich.  Free admission, donations gratefully accepted.