Produced by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc.
From the Artistic Director
Welcome to the Party!
Harold Pinter has long been one of my favorite writers. In fact, this is not the first time I've directed Party Time - over 10 years ago I presented it at Emerson College as part of my Master's thesis. It is a real privilege to get another bite at the apple and to be able to direct it again in this less traditional format.
In the 1980s, Pinter, already famous for his "comedies of menace" and memory plays, took what many observers and critics felt was a sharp turn into overtly political work. Pinter himself felt that his work had dealt with issues of authoritarianism since the very beginning. Regarding his early masterpiece The Dumbwaiter, he says, "It was quite obvious to the actors that the chap who is upstairs and is never seen is a figure of authority. Gus questions this authority and rebels against it and therefore is squashed at the end, or is about to be squashed. The political metaphor was very clear to the actors and directors of the first production in 1960. It was not, however, clear to the critics of the time..."
While Pinter did not view Party Time as an abrupt departure from his previous work, it is clear that he entered a period where his political views became more overtly expressed, in plays such as One for the Road, Mountain Language and The New World Order. He recounts a conversation with some women at a cocktail party in Turkey where he was trying to get them to critically examine that country's policy on political prisoners and torture, to no avail. He says that One for the Road was born out in part from that experience. "I feel very strongly that people should know what's going on in this world, on all levels," he said.
To my mind, Party Time was also likely prompted in some measure from that same experience. Though, unlike One for the Road, which is a straightforward and unflinching examination of torture, Party Time takes a more oblique angle. What attracted me to the script both when I first read it and still today is what I really love about Pinter in general: all the unspoken subtext that swirls around the surface lines. This is particulatly true in this play, with its setting in one of the most shallow rituals of modern times - the cocktail party. It is thrilling to me how he is able to conjure from the candy glass of cocktail conversation, with surreptitious glances and brief moments of exposure, a deep and resonant outcry, all in less than 45 minutes.
Pinter may disagree, but to me the Home Invasion format is the ideal way to experience this script. You'll be front and center, able to immerse yourself in the world of the play and to appreciate all the subtleties of complex, layered human interaction in a way that you could not in a more traditional setting. (Or at least, I hope that's the case. This is a new experiment for us, after all.) So grab a glass of wine and enjoy the party - just be careful with whom you make friends.
d a r r e n
Ann Carpenter (Melissa) is very pleased to be back in her fourth production with Theatre on Fire. She has previously been a part of TOF's productions of RACE, The American Dream and Blackadder II: Live! Elsewhere she has recently been seen in the Norton award-winning Uncle Vanya with Apollinaire Theatre. Ann also spends time with the "Here Comes Everybody Players" bringing the lyrical prose of James Joyce to audiences in the Boston area. Thanks to Darren and the cast and crew and as always a special thanks to her husband Dan for all his love and support.
Emma Goodman (Charlotte) is thrilled to be appearing in another Theatre on Fire show after her first show - Bash. She has appeared in other area shows including A Christmas Carol at the Hanover Theater, The Grapes of Wrath at Stoneham Theatre, The Kentucky Cycle and the three-act American premiere of Edward Albee's Seascape with Zeitgeist Stage Company, and Rapunzel with Foothills Theater. She also appears by day in schools performing the one-woman shows Amelia Earhart and The Yellow Dress. She is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA.
Craig Houk (Gavin) is thrilled to be back with Theatre on Fire and to be working with this exceptionally talented cast. Previous TOF appearances include Edmund Blackadder in Blackadder II: Live!, True/Countess in Act a Lady, Victor in One for the Road and Philip in Gasping. A very special thank you to Darren Evans. It’s great to be back.
Mary Niederkorn (Liz): Originally a professional opera singer, Mary made the crossover into film and theatre, hoping to express herself in a more personal way through acting, and to reach a wider audience beyond classical music. Since then, she has acted in many independent films and theater productions in the Boston area. This year her performance as Susan in the independent film The Commitment won a Best Film Award from the NSSW, beating out Hollywood-backed films Moonrise Kingdom and What to Expect When You’re Expecting. Mary is a member of SAG/AFTRA.
Kiki Samko (Dusty) is thrilled to make her ToF debut! A proud member of Happy Medium Theatre's advisory board and an artistic associate with imaginary beasts, Ms. Samko has performed with various theatre companies throughout Boston, including an Elliot Norton Award-winning turn in HMT’s recent Dog Sees God. She received degrees in Drama and English (Poetry) from Tufts University and trained at the Actor’s Movement Studio in New York City. Look for her next in Brewed with Happy Medium this fall.
Adam Siladi (Terry) is into Theatre on Fire like a red wine stain in a white shag carpet. As a three-peat TOF cast member, it's safe to say that Adam is difficult to get rid of completely. Previous appearances include psychotic murderer Steve (Almost Blue, 2013); sociopathic businessman Baby (Mojo, 2011); and mild-mannered training specialist (himself, real life). Adam is continually grateful to be given the opportunity to work alongside such wonderful and talented people again and again.
Phil Thompson (Douglas) was last seen in Of Mice and Men (Norton Nomination, Outstanding Production) with Moonbox Productions. He also appeared as Lee Collins in the Moonbox production of Floyd Collins. Other recent work: Beatrice et Benedict (Leonato) with Opera Boston, The Ugly One (Scheffler) and Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom (Steve) at Apollinaire Theatre, Glengarry Glen Ross (Shelley Levine) with Independent Drama Society, and Almost an Evening (Polhemus) with TOF. Phil is a resident actor with Playwright's Platform, actively taking part in readings of new plays in various stages of development. He is involved in the PERCS program with area hospitals, a program utilizing improvisation to train medical professionals. Phil has also toured the east and midwest as a vocalist.
Terry Torres (Jimmy) is working with Theatre on Fire once again and is tickled pink. He has previously appeared in productions by companies such as Brown Box Theatre Project (Paris in Romeo & Juliet, Malvolio in Twelfth Night), Imaginary Beasts (Dr. Seward in Dracula Revamped), and Happy Medium Theatre (Nat in Refuge). He has also used his own apartment to put on free performances of True West and a play about a talking toaster seeking its non-driver's photo identification. Currently, he can be seen orating and perspiring in colonial garb on the Freedom Trail.
Chris Wagner (Fred): This is Chris's fourth show with Theatre on Fire - previous roles include Miles/Lady Romola in Act A Lady, McManus/Young Man in Almost An Evening, and Baldrick in Blackadder II: Live! After those three, it has been an almost bizarre experience to perform in a show of Darren’s that requires no costume changes. However, Chris has immensely enjoyed being part of a production as exciting and challenging as this Home Invasion project. He would like to thank Darren and the rest of this talented cast, and is grateful that none of them are anything like their characters in real life. He would especially like to thank his lovely wife Tamiko for all her love and support.
Director: Darren Evans
Costume Designer: Maureen Festa
Assistant Producer: Chelsea Schmidt
Stage Managers: Brooke DiGiovanni Evans, Chelsea Schmidt, Terry Torres, Anna Trachtman
This very special group of people really stepped up to the plate to get TOF started. They dug deep and donated $500 or more before our inaugural production in March 2006. Quite simply, without them there would be no Theatre on Fire. We will love and honor them forever - and you should, too. Revel in their greatness!
A & R Media Studio
Joe DeVito & Stephanie Pasha
Anthony & Elaine DiGiovanni
Nancy & Robert DiGiovanni
Rocco & Natalie DiGiovanni
Mary & Phil Evans
Eric & Jen Jacobsen
Curtis, Audrey & Mia Kimball
Season 8 Donors
Towering Inferno ($1,000+)
Kathleen Rogers & Rick Teller
Robert & Nancy DiGiovanni
Elaine & Anthony DiGiovanni
Phil and Mary Evans
Emily Dahl & Michael Kuczewski
Natalie & Rocco DiGiovanni
Michael Dumas & David Nohelty
Veronique Le Melle
Ben & Elizabeth Shepherd
Richard Davies &
Paul & Kathleen O'Connor
Bruce & Chris Schneider
Valerie von Rosenvinge
Smokin' (up to $24)
As always, there are a lot of folks to thank for making this production happen. First and foremost, the amazing cast. I told them up front that I had no experience with this kind of staging and that they would be on the spot every night without a net, and none of them flinched. Anything that is great in this production is largely due to their talent and bravery.
Maureen Festa is the ultimate "make it happen" costume designer and her great design is only matched by her professionalism.
Without our gracious hosts, Home Invasion would be homeless, so many thanks to all of them for inviting into their homes and trusting us not to wreck them. I appreciate your adventurousness!
The kind folks at the Charlestown Working Theater loaned us rehearsal space and wine glasses. As usual, they are totally awesome. The Boston Center for the Arts also kicked in some critical rehearsal space, for which I am very grateful.
Chelsea Schmidt handled all the home scouting - I could never have done this without her. Not to mention she is the most infectiously fun person to work with ever. Thanks also to Anna Trachtman for helping to manage a bunch of the performances.
My wife is one of the most long-suffering theatre "widows" ever (as I type this she is chopping up fresh basil for you all to eat). I would barely get out the door in the morning without her. She's my rock and I love her.
It's getting late and I probably forgot other awesome people who helped, so thank you, thank you, and thank you!