Transport Group

Jack Cummings III, Robyn Hussa -founders

present

REQUIEM FOR WILLIAM

Seven Short Plays by William Inge

 

 

The Connelly Theatre

220 E. 4 St.

Tickets: (212) 206-1515 or www.smarttix.com

www.transport-group.org

February 2 – March 2, 2003

Conceived and Directed by Jack Cummings III

Musical Direction Mary-Mitchell Campbell

Scenic Design John Story

Lighting Design R. Lee Kennedy

Costume Design Kathryn Rohe

Sound Design Seth Guterman

Production Stage Manager Amber Wedlin

Orchestrations Audrey Terry

Vocal Consultant K.C. Ligon

Press Representative Springer/Chicoine

 

The Plays

TO BOBOLINK, FOR HER SPIRIT

THE RAINY AFTERNOON

THE TINY CLOSET

MEMORY OF SUMMER

THE BOY IN THE BASEMENT

THE STRAINS OF TRIUMPH

A SOCIAL EVENT

 

Featuring

Dean Alai, Nicole AIifante, Toni DiBuono, Madeleine Dopico

Taina Eig, Lovette George, Holland Haiis, Robyn Hussa

Tina Johnson, Samantha Jumper, Joseph KoIinski

Mark Ledbetter, Tom Ligon, Sean MacLaughlin, Michael Mags

Richard Martin, Marni Nixon, Shannon Polly, Monica Russell

Katie Scharf, Michael Shelle, Cheryl Stern, Diane Sutherland

Jonathan Uffelman, James Weber, John Wellmann, Matt Yeager

 

Musicians

Marcie Mirkin (Clarinet), Lev Zhurbin (Viola), Mike Blanco (Bass)

 

Songs by

Leslie Becker, Beth Blatt, Mary-Mitchell Campbell, Brian Crawley

Ed Dixon, Jenny Giering, Jeff Hardy, Tom Kochan

Michael John LaChiusa, Cheryl Stern, Ellen Weiss

 

What a lovely package the impressive Transport Group has assembled with their respectful compilation, REQUIEM FOR WILLIAM: Seven Short Plays by William Inge. A polished labor of love, this Inge sampler is a real treat for the audience, as it offers the extremely rare opportunity to experience Inge beyond BUS STOP or COME BACK, LITTLE SHEBA.

What is most notable in this production is the undeniable talent that Inge displayed in his writing. These seven works, all very short, evidence his ability to hit a deeper layer, to go beyond the one-dimensional, even when crafting what amounts to a short scene. The plays, all set in the 1950’s, touch on subjects ranging from stalwart autograph seekers (the comedic "To Bobolink, for her Spirit"), to unrequited love ("The Strains of Triumph"), to in-the-closet homosexuality ("The Tiny Closet" and "The Boy in the Basement"). REQUIEM FOR WILLIAM shows that, however touchy the subject matter, especially for the time period, or however light the material, Inge had a way of crafting the language so that the unspoken is clear, the emotions of the characters evident, and the next step obvious. For, as these plays end, as it were, mid-action, we are never left wondering at the future of the characters we are briefly introduced to. Their paths have been clearly drawn for us.

Except for "The Boy in the Basement," perhaps the most difficult piece, and thereby the one that lacked the ease and fluidity of the other six plays, the evening offers an almost seamless stream of entertainment. "The Boy…" is a bold examination of an adult man living and working at home as a mortician, venturing to town on weekends to drink and to meet other men, only to be discovered by his disapproving and religious mother. Bold, in that it tackles the subject rather directly (referring to a raided club where men go to meet other men), the play is the only one of the seven where Inge seemed stilted and unsure of how to arrive at a clean resolution.

In terms of the crafting of REQUIEM, director Jack Cummings III has structured the piece so that it evolves almost naturally. By making the transition from one play to the next by having some lovely, thematically relevant songs performed, as well as voice-overs from some of Inge’s full-length plays, the program in its entirety comes together. Add to the mix a group of talented actors, and an overall respect for the material, and you have got a pretty nice package.

REQUIEM FOR WILLIAM: Seven Short Plays by William Inge, a home-run for Transport Group, is recommended. Come and experience William Inge for yourself.

- Kessa De Santis -

Richard Martin, Jonathan Uffelman, Monica Russell, Tina Johnson, Shannon Polly and Holland Haiis

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