The Holmdel Theatre Company, in residence at The Duncan Smith Theatre, Holmdel NJ, will present the 4A’s (Alan Ayckbourn Aficionados of America) in a rare staged reading of Alan Ayckbourn’s comic masterpiece HOUSE & GARDEN on Saturday, August 14th.
Not one, but two plays – HOUSE & GARDEN follows the dysfunctional Platt family on the day they host the annual village fete. Up in the House, Teddy Platt is nervously anticipating a visit from Gavin Ryng-Mayne, an oily politician who may or may not be coming to ask him to run for office. Teddy’s wife Trish refuses to acknowledge her husband’s very existence due to his affair with her best friend and neighbor, Joanna. Their daughter Sally is love-struck by Joanna’s son Jake, but intrigued by the seductive advances of Gavin as well.
Meanwhile, down in the Garden, Joanna’s huband Giles is spiraling into a deep depression as plans for the fete threaten to get disastrously out of control due to a visit from a tipsy French movie star fresh out of rehab and an impending thunderstorm. Add in a knife-wielding housekeeper, her over-sexed fortune-telling daughter, a grunting gardener, a pair of squabbling village fete coordinators, and you’ve got twice Ayckbourn’s usual dose of hilarity mixed with hurt!
The 4A’s (a group named by the author himself) are a troupe of New Jersey thespians dedicated to the presentation and preservation of the plays of Sir Alan Ayckbourn. In 2009 they presented four staged readings of rarely heard Ayckbourn plays as well as a fully-staged retrospective of his work at Chester’s Black River Playhouse to celebrate the author’s 50th anniversary of playwriting as well as his 70th birthday.
Ayckbourn was recently the recipient of a 2010 Tony Award for lifetime achievement. He is currently premiering his 74th play LIFE OF RILEY in Scarborough, England.
The plays will be introduced and directed by the troupe’s founder Michael T. Mooney, who studied with Sir Ayckbourn in England and has directed the American premieres of four of his plays.
The cast of HOUSE & GARDEN includes David Neal (Fanwood) as Teddy, Cody Dalton (Oakhurst) as Trish, Alan Morley (Ridgewood) as Giles, Julianne DiPietro-Renshaw (Maplewood) as Joanna, Chris Mortenson (Oldwick) as Gavin, Valerie Stack Dodge (Morris Plains) as Lucille, Roxanna Wagner (Chester) as Fran, Judy Stone (Union City) as Izzie, Elizabeth Urcinoli (Hackettstown) as Pearl, Maria Brodeur-Ludwig (Rockaway) as Lindy, Patrick Carpenter (Somerset) as Barry, as well as the 4A’s debut of Holmdel’s Volney Stefflre as Jake, Laura DePinho as Sally, and Geoff Shields as Warn.
This is the first New Jersey presentation of HOUSE & GARDEN, plays written by Ayckbourn in 1999 and seen in London in 2000 and New York City in 2002. Although written to be performed by the same cast, simultaneously in two adjacent auditoria, the Holmdel readings will be performed sequentially with a matinee of HOUSE at 3pm and an evening reading of GARDEN at 8pm both on Saturday, August 14, 2010. Tickets are $10 for one show, $15 for both. Reservations may be made by calling (732) 946-0427.