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Jersey Voices Walk Offbeat Avenues at Chatham Community Players
by Sherri Rase      |   follow us...

   
photo by Howard Fischer
Lauri MacMillan & Charlie Thomson
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Chatham Community Players’ annual cavalcade of one-act plays, Jersey Voices, now in its 22nd season, is a gift for all of the senses, most particularly those of irony and humor. This year’s selection of seven works was distilled down from hundreds and the vintage is sublime! Heightening enjoyment is the new seating arrangement in the theater–dedicated seating, rather than the former General Admission, assures that you’ll always get your favorite spot, when you reserve early and often.
One of this year’s favorites was “Happily Ever After,” written by Jeanne Johnston and directed by George Seylaz. The Prince (Bradley Carrington) and the Princess (Katherine LeFevre) have just been married. Together they need to answer “what’s next” and they have surprising and, well, charming answers to that very question. “Not Enough,” by Chip Bolcik and directed by Jersey Voices Artistic Director Robert Lukasik introduced us to Bob (Lewis Decker) and Mary (Bridget Burke Weiss), who could very well be, by popular thought, the Prince and the Princess some thirty years in the future. Bob, dressed in gray, talks a great deal about his feelings and thoughts, and Mary, dressed in black and white, speaks of logic, reason, and action. Brilliantly written by someone who knows the mechanics of how a loving couple might set their spark again to flame, it is also brilliantly realized by director and cast.
Especially standing out for me, however, were two of the works, each the centerpiece of its act. “Bottle for a Special Occasion,” written by William C. Kovacsik and directed by Arnold J. Buchiane, features a fascinating and sticky situation. Newly widowed Judith (Terri Sturtevant) walks into Martin’s (Duane Noch) wine shop with a very particular request. How the conversation spins out is delightful, poignant, arresting, and full of pathos and, at its wide and generous heart, is a sense of the diversity of life. My particular favorite of the evening was Ralph Greco, Jr.’s “Paper Bell,” directed by Jessica Phelan. Doing a star turn, quite literally playing a diva, Lauri Macmillan gives us Ruth McKintire. Ruth is a renowned chanteuse on the “venerable” side of her career, making appearances with the aid of a brand new invention by Thomas Edison, the phonograph. Her intergenerational reaction with the stagehand and her erstwhile companion, Charles Green (Charlie Thomson), is pure delight, as each paints a picture of a world gone by, while sketching an image of the world yet to be. Lewis Decker makes a cameo appearance as Ruth’s road manager, Lester Felder. Ruth and Charles are courtly and seem to be from another world–a world of respect, trust and sense of community that many in our world today seem to have forgotten.
Give yourself a gift right now. The first weekend in August is the last for this whirlwind tour of genius. For tickets and more information, visit Chatham Community Players’ website www.ChathamPlayers.org. Jersey Voices closes on August 7, so get your tickets NOW!


 

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