Town Players present 'Living Together'
Family reunions can be upbeat, fulfilling events where everybody gets along. Or, they can be more like the farcical, calamitous reunion depicted in "Living Together," the Alan Ayckbourn comedy opening Friday, July 27, at New Canaan's Powerhouse Performing Arts Center at Waveny Park.
Performances are on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. on July 27 and 28 and Aug. 3, 4, 10 and 11. Sunday matinees are at 2:30 p.m. on July 29 and Aug. 5. Ticket prices are $20; $15 for students and senior citizens. To reserve seats, call 203-966-7371.
The plot centers on Norman. He's married to Ruth but lusts after her sister, Annie, who lives with their infirm mother in the family's Victorian country house. Annie invites her brother, Reg, and his wife, Sarah, to care for mom so Annie can steal off with Norman. After Annie cancels the liaison, Norman and Ruth also show up, all five (visited by Annie's sometime boyfriend Tom) are impounded together, and secrets are exposed to hilarious effect.
"Living Together" is the second play in Ayckbourn's trilogy, "The Norman Conquests." The plays -- the others are "Table Manners" and "Round and Round the Garden" -- are written to be performed separately. But in 2009, a marathon Broadway production of all three in succession won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.
"While the comedy is broad, the actors must portray Ayckbourn's idiosyncratic characters as real people," said director Larry Schneider. "Our gifted and experienced cast is up to the challenge. They have great chemistry and will generate lots of laughs."
Schneider has directed many shows in the area, including "Mrs. Warren's Profession," "Our Town," "Three Tall Women," "Crimes of the Heart," "Jake's Women" and "Almost, Maine."
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This is the second Town Players of New Canaan show of the year for both Jessie Gilbert (Sarah) and Bob Filipowich (Tom) -- Gilbert appeared as Jill in "Little Red Riding Hood" and Filipowich was George in "Same Time, Next Year." Both have performed many lead roles at the Powerhouse and at other local theaters.
Allie Shapiro (Annie) and Harry Lipstein (Norman) are making their Town Players debuts with "Living Together." Shaprio has been performing for more than 10 years and is studying theater performance and psychology at Concordia University in Montreal. Lipstein has recently begun acting, appearing in Ridgefield last year (also as Norman) in "Round and Round the Garden,"
For real-life husband and wife team, Jeff Pliskin (Reg) and Deborah Burke (Ruth), "Living Together" is the third play in which they have performed together. Pliskin previously appeared at the Powerhouse in "Doubt." This is Burke's Town Players. Both have extensive acting resumes in Connecticut community theater.