Pegasus one-acts guarantee stellar performances
Pegasus Theater Company, beginning on January 18
and running for four weekends through February 10, will present two one-act plays, The Duck Variations by
David Mamet and directed by Susan Packer, and The Madness of Lady Bright, by Lanford Wilson, and directed by Darlene Kersnar.
Mamet, who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for Glengarry Glen Ross in 1984, first gained acclaim for Duck Variations (penned in 1971) and two other one act plays which opened off-Broadway in 1976. The Chicago-born playwright, screen writer, director and essayist was born in Chicago to Jewish parents (a teacher and an attorney) in 1947 and has an enviable track record of well received films and plays which have earned him dozens of awards and a reputation as one of the world’s finest and most prolific talents in his chosen fields.
It’s to Pegasus’ credit that they’ve chosen two seasoned actors with more than a half-century of experience between them to stage this work.
Duck Variations centers around a discussion between two elderly gents, George and Emil, who may or may not know each other, sitting on a park bench watching ducks. The dialogue begins with a discussion of ducks’ mating habits (about which they know little) and in Mamet’s inimitable style, launches into a rambling fugue touching on life, law, death, happiness and whatever paths they’ve traversed during their several decades on Earth. The ducks are unifying touchstones which they return to time and again before expounding fresh theories and dazzling one another with their worldly wisdom. Frank Ferris and Scott Kersnar who have known one another and shared stages for decades are naturals for these roles and should, under the direction of Susan Packer, turn in convincing and thoroughly believable performances.
The Madness of Lady Bright was written by Lanford Wilson during slow shifts while working as a night time reservations clerk at the Americana Hotel (today the Sheraton) on the hotel’s typewriter. It was the first of his works to present explicitly gay themes, and a desk-clerk colleague of his at the Americana was purportedly among the inspirations for protagonist Leslie Bright.
Called one of the earliest American plays to focus predominantly on gay material the play is substantially a monologue delivered by an aging drag queen on a hot summer day in his New York apartment and has been characterized as among the first to portray gay characters in an non-stereotypical way. Set in the early 1960s, it deals with isolation and desperation, loneliness and self-doubt, and visits from ghosts named Boy and Girl (played by Rachel Custer and Conor O’Shaughnessy) who represent old friends and lovers and “give voice to criticisms” Lady Bright has encountered through life, as he gradually descends into madness.
The play opened in May 1964 at New York’s Caffe Cino, whose proprietor, Joe Cino was himself openly gay.
Directed by Darlene Kersnar, the play stars John Rowan who has turned in one stellar performance after another and can be counted on to channel Lady Bright faithfully and with integrity.
All 3 performances on opening weekend (Friday and Saturday evening and Sunday matinee), January 18 -20, are now pay-what-you-can. The performances on January 25 – February 9, are $15 general admission.
Our final performance, the Sunday matinee on February 10, is a fundraising Gala for Pegasus, with an admission price of $30, which will include complimentary champagne, non-alcoholic beverages and hors d’oeuvres.
Friday and Saturday evening performances begin at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees begin at 2 p.m.
Pegasus Theater is on Canyon Two Road about 200 yards from Hwy 116 and just north of the Rio Nido Roadhouse