Wednesday, June 5, 2013

'The Fourth Wall' in Pasadena June 14

WHAT: “The Fourth Wall.” A comedy with music.

WHO: Written by A.R. Gurney. Directed by Randall Gray. Presented by Stages of Gray Theatre.

WHERE: Stages of Gray Theatre, 299 N. Altadena Drive, Pasadena, CA 91107.

WHEN: June 14- July 20, 2013. Fri. & Sat. at 8:00 p.m.

ADMISSION: $30. Seniors and military, $27. Check website for other discounts.

RESERVATIONS: (909) 461-7375.


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            In “The Fourth Wall,” Peggy, a woman of generally good taste, has left one wall blank and undecorated in her living room, to the consternation of her husband, Roger. Roger seeks the assistance of Julia, a New York actress and family friend.

            The fact is, the living room resembles a stage set, so much so that characters feel that they’re acting and speaking like, well, characters in a play. So Floyd, a local theatre professor, is consulted. Meanwhile, Julia attempts to seduce Roger.

            Peggy is a woman of distinct political preoccupations, so much so that she invites comparisons to a heroine out of George Bernard Shaw. Her choice to leave the wall blank relates to her political worldview. What might lie just beyond the fourth wall? Might whole new horizons await?

            Why do the characters suddenly burst into song, and specifically songs by Cole Porter?

            Playwright A.R. Gurney is the author of 46 plays, many of them, like “The Fourth Wall,” focusing on affluent people living in the northeast. But “The Fourth Wall,” first produced in 1992, hilariously satirizes the conventions of theatre itself (a ripe target).

            Randall Gray directs. Over the course of several decades, he has directed over 100 productions around the globe. Also an actor, his resume includes considerable experience in musical theatre. He is the Artistic Director of Stages of Gray Theatre.

            The cast of “The Fourth Wall” includes, in alphabetical order: Tammy Goolsbey, Cliff Ingram, Richard Valentin and Melissa Virgo.

            Technical director: Alexander Nifong. Stage manager: Barb Woods.

            “Some damn clever writing….Constructed to illuminate the nature of the dramatic form while raising questions about the state of theatre in America…The evening is debonair, thought-provoking and funny.”---The New Yorker
            As Cole Porter would say (and as Roger and Julia sing), “I’m darn glad of it. Good news!”

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