Town Players To Stage Second Production Of ‘An Inspector Calls,’ Unveil New Archives Exhibition
For the second time in the history of Town Players of Newtown, the local theater company will be offering audiences the opportunity to enjoy a performance of An Inspector Calls. Concurrently, audiences will be treated to the first planned display of elements from the theater’s archives currently being collected and organized by Zach Theis.
The first production of J.B. Priestley’s work was done in 1950. The show was to be revived in 2014, under the direction of Gene Golaszewski, but plans changed and Town Players instead presented The Artificial Jungle under Golaszewski’s direction.
Golaszewski has returned to direct the upcoming production, which will open at The Little Theatre, 18 Orchard Hill Road, on Friday, May 6.
An Inspector Calls revolves around the apparent suicide of a young woman, Eva Smith. The unsuspecting Birling family — including the patriarch Arthur (to be played by Ron Malyska), matriarch Sybil (Lynn Priestka), their daughter Sheila (Amy Strachan), son Eric (Tony Benedetti) — is visited by the mysterious Inspector Goole (Christopher Bird).
The inspector arrives just as they are celebrating the engagement of Sheila Birling to Gerald Croft (Cooper Smithers). The inspector reveals that Eva Smith has taken her own life by drinking disinfectant.
The family, and maid Edna (Nicole Veach), is horrified but initially confused as to why the inspector has called to see them. What follows is a tense and uncomfortable investigation by an all-knowing Inspector through which the family discovers that they are all in fact caught up in Eva’s death.
Performances will continue to May 21, on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm and Sunday afternoons at 2 pm. There is also one Thursday evening performance, on May 19, also at 8 pm.
Tickets are $25 for Friday and Saturday performances, and $20 Thursday and Sunday. Tickets can be purchased at town-players-of-newtown.square.site/
Archive Project, First Exhibition
The Town Players of Newtown has undertaken an archival project, which includes the digitizing and preservation of the company’s 87 years of history. This project began briefly in 2010, with the gathering of articles, slides, and photographs from the attics of Town Players alumni in preparation for the Diamond Jubilee that same year.
Shortly after, however, the project was abandoned, and everything was packed away and stored in the various nooks and crannies of The Little Theater.
This year, under the direction of Zach Theis, this project has found new vigor, and is being brought to life during the first history exhibit, which highlights the 1950’s Town Players production of An Inspector Calls. Articles and artifacts will be on display in the theater’s lobby during performances of the upcoming production of the same show.
In 1950, productions were still taking place at Edmond Town Hall, but the 1950 season marked the beginning of an era of change for the Town Players. The following year, the plot of land on Orchard Hill Road was purchased from Harold and Hazel Smith with money earned from ticket sales. A cinder-block building was built shortly after as a workshop and storage space for the construction of sets. In 1955, it was converted to a theater, which is still at the heart of the Little Theater’s structure.
“History should not live only on the page,” said Theis, “it needs to be protected, yes, but it needs to be seen, shown as relevant, and brought to life. As current members of the Town Players of Newtown, we are the protectors of the legacy of every person that has trod our boards. We are still a strong organization because of the contributions of those in our past.”
The exhibit includes photos, articles, and advertisements from the 1950 production, as well as the original costume worn by Bea Faust as Edna. Photos of hand-painted posters from past TP productions will also be on display.