Conor McPherson on THE VEIL | Quotidian Theatre Company

Conor McPherson

Conor McPherson

Quotidian Theatre Company presents the US premiere of Conor McPherson’s The Veil, opening tomorrow, July 18, and running through August 17.

Playwright Conor McPherson says, “I was brought up as a Roman Catholic, so perhaps this is why I see supernatural stories as the most natural thing I can present on stage. I have always felt that the theatre is the perfect place to contemplate the unknown. I want the audience to dream their way into the play and out the other side only to arrive deeper inside themselves via their most powerful emotions. I want to invite the darkness that surrounds the stage onto the stage in order to illuminate all that is truly important to us. And something that feels important to me is that we recognize that the experience of being alive — and being conscious of being alive — is an unfathomable mystery. Life is a transcendental experience. It’s a mystery we should marvel at and celebrate.”

Read more of McPherson’s thoughts in this Evening Standard interview and in his piece for The Telegraph, and watch this video interview about the 2011 world premiere production at London’s National Theatre.

Previous blog posts about The Veil can be read here.

The Veil w textQuotidian Theatre Company presents the U.S. premiere production of
THE VEIL
by Conor McPherson
July 18 – August 17, 2014

The New York Times calls Conor McPherson “the finest playwright of his generation”. Set in a haunted mansion in rural Ireland in 1822, surrounded by a restive, starving populace, The Veil weaves Ireland’s troubled colonial history into a transfixing story about the search for love, the transcendental, and the circularity of time.

Featuring Christine Alexander, Michael Avolio, Jane Squier Bruns, John Decker, Steve LaRocque, Chelsea Mayo, Stephanie Mumford, and Michele Osherow. Directed by Jack Sbarbori.

All performances are held at The Writer’s Center: 4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda, MD. The venue is a short walk from the Bethesda Metro Station. There is free parking on Saturdays and Sundays.

Tickets are $30, or $25 for seniors and students, and can be purchased online at Brown Paper Tickets.

Show times are Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm, with one additional 2pm performance on Saturday, August 16.

Subscribers, please contact quotidiantheatre@comcast.net or 301-816-1023 for reservations.

The Veil cast

The Veil cast: Christine Alexander, Michael Avolio, Jane Squier Bruns, John Decker,
Steve LaRocque,  Chelsea Mayo, Stephanie Mumford, and Michele Osherow.

 

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The Veil rehearsal blog 2 | Quotidian Theatre Company

 

Chelsea Mayo

Chelsea Mayo

Quotidian Theatre Company presents the US premiere of Conor McPherson’s The Veil, opening July 18. Chelsea Mayo plays the role of Hannah Lambroke in the production.

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Before I auditioned for The Veil, I read a review that described it as being like a Chekhov play but with ghosts. Nina in The Seagull is still one of my favorite roles that I’ve ever played, so I was intrigued before I’d even read the script. I was drawn to the eerie setting (I’ve never done a show set in a haunted house before), I was drawn to the character’s troubled past (you’ll find out early in the play that Hannah’s childhood was not a carefree one), and I was drawn to the gaps in McPherson’s story. He shares enough information to create distinctive, believable characters, but he hints at certain events and leaves others entirely to our imaginations. An actor always has character choices to make, but The Veil presented me with several exciting challenges that I hadn’t encountered before. Continue reading

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The Veil rehearsal blog 1 | Quotidian Theatre Company

Stephanie Mumford

Stephanie Mumford

Quotidian Theatre Company presents the US premiere of Conor McPherson’s The Veil, opening July 18. Stephanie Mumford co-founded QTC with artistic director Jack Sbarbori and plays Mrs. Goulding in the production.

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A Quotidian Encounter with Conor McPherson

So, Jack says to me, “Steph, Conor McPherson has a new play. It’s set in 1822 in a haunted house in rural Ireland, and there’s a séance… Better still, Conor is directing the play himself.” It’s early 2011, and I am thinking how lovely it would be to go to London to see the world premiere of The Veil when it opens at the National Theatre in September. An impulsive decision is made. We get tickets to see three preview performances of the play during a four-day trip to England. Continue reading

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Faith Healer rehearsal blog | Quotidian Theatre Company

Laura Russell

Prior to the opening of Quotidian Theatre Company’s next production, Brian Friel’s storytelling drama Faith Healer, actor Laura Russell discusses the lies and truths told in the play’s conflicting narratives.

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Many years ago, I read Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried. The book recounts several tales more than once, each with a different emphasis and outcome: the reality of combat in Vietnam was so horrific, it became a necessary survival skill to tell lies in place of truth. Those stories have haunted me ever since, and I wonder which, if any, were the true ones. Like O’Brien’s book, Quotidian’s upcoming production Faith Healer will leave you wondering about the nature of truth.

In Faith Healer, you will meet three people giving accounts of their long and close association with one another. Each character describes significant events in their lives together, colored by their own feelings, recollections, and desire to influence you, the listener. The narratives will agree on some points, and will directly contradict in regard to others. And in each character’s tale, you will learn things that are entirely new, which the other characters do not relate. Continue reading

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QTC Fundraising Concert & Silent Auction on 30 & 31 May and 1 June

Save the dates 30 & 31 May at 8pm and 1 June at 2pm for QTC’s fundraising concert by the brilliant D.C. band Sligo Creek Stompers. Tickets are on sale now at Brown Paper Tickets. The Stompers will perform in concert with a silent auction — LIVE at 4508 Walsh St in Bethesda, MD — and, beginning 1 May, ONLINE at 32auctions. QTC props and costumes, as well as tickets to the first-ever Helen & Hayes Awards in 2015, Folger Shakespeare Theater, Washington Stage Guild, QTC, and Londontowne Symphony Orchestra will be up for bidding, starting at bargain prices compared to retail. Also up for bids are a 10-lesson adult pass to the Maryland Youth Ballet and violin lessons from Stompers’ violinist, Sarah Foard. Take a sneak peek at all our items up for bid so far. Much more to come!

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QTC is honored to have the Sligo Creek Stompers perform for this event. They will be playing selections from their most recent CD, Vital Mental Medicine, along with some new tunes. A number of Quotidian Theatre Company members attended one of their concerts last year and were overwhelmed by their talent, energy, authenticity, exuberance, and truly brilliant performances! They are something very special, so we hope you won’t miss this opportunity to hear them live. I promise you will not be disappointed!

– QTC Co-founder Stephanie Mumford

For more about the Stompers and their CD Vital Mental Medicine, the following was taken from their website at http://www.sligocreekstompers.com.

Antarctica, November 1915. While on expedition, Ernest Shackleton risked his life to save a banjo from his sinking ship, calling it “vital mental medicine.” For three weeks, the survivors had little more than an upturned boat and that banjo to keep their bodies warm and spirits fed.

The Sligo Creek Stompers turn to this story of inspiration for their second album,
“Vital Mental Medicine.” The Washington-area band keeps the spirit of stringband music alive with their unique interpretation of American roots music. The album’s thirteen songs explore traditional New Orleans jazz, scrappy old time and Irish fiddle tunes, and country rags. Hailing from another era, the recordings offer a cure to the trappings of the urban jungle.

The band’s four members — Sarah Foard, Adrian Erlinger, Jess Eliot Myhre, and Chris Ousley — first began playing together in 2010 at farmer’s markets, street corners, and barn dances. The group created their own raucous but refined blend of traditional music and got to work playing at venues and recording material. In August 2012, the Sligo Creek Stompers brought their sound to the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, a show that made them fixtures in the local traditional music scene. “Vital Mental Medicine” was released in January 2013 to a sold out audience at the Sixth & I Historic Synagogue.

With a slew of stringed instruments in tow, the Sligo Creek Stompers aim to delight audiences and passersby with their youthful energy and a firm grounding in tradition.

Sligo Creek Stompers play a raucous but refined blend of traditional roots music: Appalachian & Midwestern old time and bluegrass, New Orleans-style traditional jazz, haunted Irish fiddle tunes, honky tonk & classic country, Texas & gypsy swing.

Inspired by scratchy 78 rpm records, contra dancing and a good bottle of whiskey, the Stompers are keeping the flame of American stringband music alive in the Washington, DC area.

Contact: sligocreekstompers@gmail.com
Website: http://www.sligocreekstompers.com

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ICEMAN blog post by Steve Beall: Part 2 | Quotidian Theatre Company

Steve Beall

Steve Beall

Quotidian Theatre Company’s production of Eugene O’Neill’s ambitious ensemble piece The Iceman Cometh runs through November 24. Reviews can be read at DC Theatre Scene and DC Metro Theater Arts. Actor Steve Beall has appeared in five previous QTC productions, including last season’s hit musical James Joyce’s The Dead. He has also acted with Pallas, Red Eye Gravy, Spooky Action, Chesapeake Shakespeare, Synetic, Lean & Hungry, Journeymen, Taffety Punk, Constellation, Folger Shakespeare, Forum, Inkwell, Bay, and Rep Stage theatre companies. This is the second of two pieces he’s written aboutIceman, the first being here.

Being in Nothingness

A long time ago I read or heard somewhere that the whole world is based upon a single crazy “miracle”:  the fact that instead of there being nothing, there is something.

That stayed with me. It seemed so obvious, but every now and then I’ve found myself reminding me of it. “Instead of nothing, there’s something.” (“Myself reminding me.” Catchy, right?)

That “something”, of course, includes me. You, too, near as I can tell. And all the rest of what Eugene O’Neill called “the whole misbegotten mad lot of us…”

L to R: Tiffany Garfinkle as Cora, Christian Sullivan as Chuck, Brandon Mitchell as Mosher, John Decker as Jimmy Tomorrow, Louis Pangaro as Lewis, Frank Britton as Joe, Carolyn Kashner as Margie, Genevieve James as Pearl, Matt Boliek as Willie, Frank Vince as Rocky, Ken Lechter as Wetjoen, Manolo Santalla as Hugo, Ted Schneider as Harry Hope in The Iceman Cometh

L to R: Tiffany Garfinkle as Cora, Christian Sullivan as Chuck, Brandon Mitchell as Mosher, John Decker as Jimmy Tomorrow, Louis Pangaro as Lewis, Frank Britton as Joe, Carolyn Kashner as Margie, Genevieve James as Pearl, Matt Boliek as Willie, Frank Vince as Rocky, Ken Lechter as Wetjoen, Manolo Santalla as Hugo, Ted Schneider as Harry Hope in The Iceman Cometh. Photo by St. Johnn Blondell.

So when a character in our production of O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh expresses his admiration for a preacher, citing “the way he sold them nothing for something…” Well – the line really lands for me, every time.

From where my character sits, that’s what’s happening. I’m being sold nothing for something. In this case, the nothing is what most of us would call “reality.” The something we pay is the loss of the world we’ve created in the face of the vast nothing that is reality. The pipe dreams.

I know. It seems convoluted. But that’s part of the great achievement of this play. It makes real  the emptiness of a life of mere fact, the richness of the world we create out of our passion (or, in other words, our suffering), our compassion, our good humor, our fears, our hopes, our fleeting triumphs and our enduring failures – all of that appears simultaneously. Continue reading

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