“We got ambitious this year,” says Richard Rowberry, the longtime Nelson actor, director, and producer who usually puts on one or two theatre productions each summer.
But this year it’s four, and it’s the TNT Summer Theatre Festival.
First up will be a re-mounting of A Duet For One by Tom Kempinski which Rowberry produced last fall at the Capitol. He says he’s bringing it back because it was such an artistic success.
Geoff Burns will direct the piece. It’s a two-hander, as they say in theatre, with the two parts played by Rowberry and Carly Brandel.
“It is an actor’s piece,” says Burns. “It takes place in six therapy sessions, so it is not about moving or action, but character. The challenge is for the actors is engage the audience and hold them. And they pull it off.
“It about a concert violinist who has defined her life with that role, faced with never being able to do it again, and coming to terms with that. It is about facing our limitations as humans.”
Burns said the lack of movement, partly because Brandel’s character is in a wheelchair, changes his job as a director.
“I joked with them about how instead of in typical director fashion saying ‘stand here and then stand there,’ my job was to listen and give feedback on how to delve deeper into the characters, and bring that out in a more powerful way as they spoke.
“For Carly, her job is to plumb the depths of the process her character goes through, which is from super highs to very low lows, and pull that off while sitting in a wheelchair.”
He says Rowberry’s challenge is different because his character is a psychotherapist. “His job it to listen with intensity, and as an actor that can be so demanding.”
A Duet for One is based on the life of cellist Jacqueline duPré, and was made into a movie starring Julie Andrews, Max Von Sydow and Alan Bates.
The play runs Aug. 6 to 10 at the TNT Playhouse at Carbonate and Ward. Tickets are available at the door or at http://www.nelsonsummertheatre.com.
Also in the festival later in the month:
• Saltwater Moon, a love story set in 1920s Newfoundland, starring Gabriel Macdonald and Sarah Jane Hicks, directed by Rowberry. Aug. 14 to 16, and 21 to 23.
• The Passage, a new play set on the Klondike Trail, starring Jen Viens, written and directed by Adriana Bogaard; Aug. 21 to 23 and 27 to 29.
• Looney Tunes, a music and comedy cabaret, starring Sarah Jane Hicks, Gabriel Macdonald and guests. Aug. 26-30