The Long Island premiere of "The Drawer Boy," Canadian playwright Michael Healey's award-winning play about two farmers whose lives are turned upside down when a young actor comes to visit, will be the third production of the 2012-2013 Hampton Theatre Company season. Opening at the Quogue Community Hall on Thursday, March 21, "The Drawer Boy" runs for three weekends, though April 7.
"The Drawer Boy" takes its inspiration from a 1972 project of Theatre Passe Muraille ("theater goes through walls"), the influential alternative theater dedicated to creating a distinctly Canadian voice in theater. That project, called "The Farm Show," was the result of series of interviews with Ontario farmers by a group of young actors.
"The Drawer Boy," written more than 25 years after "The Farm Show," goes well beyond the realm of farming. Since its premiere in Toronto in 1999, "The Drawer Boy" has become a modern-day Canadian classic, winning countless awards. Filled with abundant humor, as well as sensitivity, "The Drawer Boy" (referring to a boy who likes to draw) depicts the sometimes unclear divide between life and art and explores the healing powers of storytelling.
Directed by HTC Executive Director Sarah Hunnewell, "The Drawer Boy" has a cast of three, each of whom has appeared previously with the Hampton Theatre Company.
Edward A. Brennan, who has appeared with the HTC in "Becky's New Car," "The Enchanted April," "One Flew of the Cuckoo's Nest," and "Frozen," and directed two plays for the company, plays Angus, a farmer who once had dreams of building the houses he drew, but whose life was changed forever by a London bombing raid in WWII. He has lost his memory and spends his days baking bread, doing the accounts and counting stars.
Joe Pallister, who has played many roles with the company, including Stanley in "A Streetcar Named Desire," McMurphy in "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest," and Dr. Mikey Dillon in last fall's "Good People," plays Morgan, Angus's lifelong friend who struggles to keep his farm going and his tranquil life undisturbed.
Ben Schnickel, who appeared with the HTC in "Becky's New Car" and "Rabbit Hole," plays Miles, an innocent young actor from Toronto whose presence brings a dose of comedy to The Farm as well as a jolt of reality.
Michael Healey's other plays include"Kicked," "The Road To Hell," "Plan B," and "Rune Arlidge."
"The Drawer Boy" set is designed by HTC co-founder James Ewing with the assistance of Sean Marbury, lighting is by Sebastian Paczynski, set decor by Diana Marbury and costumes by Teresa LeBrun.
Showtimes for "The Drawer Boy" are Thursdays at 7, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 2:30 for the first and third weekend. There will be two shows on Saturday, March 30, with a matinee added at 2:30; there will be no performance on Easter Sunday, March 31. The Hampton Theatre Company will once again be offering special dinner theater packages in collaboration with the Southampton, Westhampton Beach and Hampton Bays libraries. For more information about the library packages, call the box office at 631-653-8955. To reserve show tickets, visit www.hamptontheatre.org, or call OvationTix at866-811-4111.