For perhaps obvious reasons, theater people love to do plays about theater people. It should be no surprise, then, that Role Players Ensemble’s latest show at Danville’s Village Theatre is “Laughing Stock,” a backstage comedy about a summer stock theater that’s been performing in a barn in New Hampshire for 60-odd years.
The play is by Charles Morey, whose farce “The Ladies Man” Role Players produced in 2015. Morey grew up near Danville and frequented the Village Theatre in his youth. He also was in fact the artistic director of a New Hampshire summer stock barn theater for about a decade.
Role Players artistic director Eric Fraisher Hayes plays Gordon Page, the hapless artistic director of the Playhouse. We meet him as he’s auditioning a motley crew of actors to spend the summer in the barn performing three plays in rep: “Hamlet,” “Charley’s Aunt” and Gordon’s own new adaptation of “Dracula.” (Morey himself has also adapted “Dracula” for the stage.) They were originally planning to do “King Lear,” but the disapproval of their one major donor causes a late-breaking change after they’ve already done most of the casting.
Hayes’ Gordon is out of his depth, unrealistically ambitious about the roles he takes on and the elaborate technical demands he expects but leaves to others to figure out. At the same time he’s plagued with insecurity and guilt about possibly leading this unassuming but venerable theater into ruin.
Among the actors, Jack (forthright and agreeable Chris Marsol), shows promise but is wary of the whole operation, and is getting discouraged about theater in general. Disdainful industry veteran Vernon (brusque and impatient Edward Nattenburg) acts like everything is a huge waste of his valuable time, including the audition. A Playhouse mainstay from the early days who’s pre-promised plum parts, Richfield (amiable, mannered John Blytt) has a …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment
Source:: Usaonlinepress – Culture