Mamet comedy to be read on Coffee Co. stage

Middlebury Community Players Company Be will present a fully staged reading of David Mamet’s drawing-room comedy “Boston Marriage” on Friday and Saturday, May 18 & 19, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, May 20, at 2 p.m. at the Vermont Coffee Company Playhouse, 1197 Exchange St., Middlebury.
Diana Bigelow directs fellow Bristol actors Susanne Peck, Kendra Gratton and Gretchen Cole in this sophisticated and fanciful play for mature audiences only. Mamet has created two scheming Victorian “women of fashion” who have long lived together on the fringes of upper-class New England society. Anna has just become the mistress of a wealthy man, from whom she has received an enormous emerald necklace and an income to match. Claire, meanwhile, is infatuated with a respectable young lady and wants to enlist Anna’s help for an assignation. As the two women exchange barbs and take turns taunting Anna’s hapless Scottish parlor maid, Catherine, Claire’s young inamorata suddenly appears, setting off a crisis that puts both the valuable emerald and the women’s futures at risk.
For those familiar only with Mamet’s searing dramas, this wickedly funny comedy will come as a delightful surprise. Given the synopsis and the playwright, it should not be a surprised that this performance is for mature audiences only.
Bigelow explains her fascination and longtime involvement with the piece: “When David Mamet’s play ‘Boston Marriage’ was produced in 2002 in New York City, the New York Post found it ‘Brilliant … one of Mamet’s most satisfying and accomplished plays and one of the funniest American comedies in years.’ I was introduced to the play in 2006 in Port Angeles, Wash. It was done as a staged reading at the Port Angeles Community Playhouse. The play features two Victorian ‘women of fashion’ and a Scottish parlor maid. I was the maid. Our production was the hit of the season.”
Fast forward to 2013 and Vermont, Bigelow continues. “My husband, Jim, and I attended a student production of ‘Boston Marriage’ at Middlebury College and were reminded of Mamet’s brilliant wit and the laugh-out-loud mischief that three women can get into. Six months later I assembled a fabulous cast — Susanne Peck, Kendra Gratton and Gretchen Cole — and we put on a staged reading of the play in our home town of Bristol. Big success! Now four years later I get to direct it for Company Be of the Middlebury Community Players — same great play, same great cast.
Tickets for the shows on May 18, 19 and 20 are available at the door for $10 cash or check. We can’t wait!

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