Pontine Presents California-Based Independent Eye Theatre Ensemble's GIFTS, 11/7-10
November 7-10, Pontine Theatre kicks off its 36th season with performances by California-based artists, Conrad Bishop and Elizabeth Fuller, in their original production, GIFTS at Pontine's West End Studio Theatre, 959 Islington St, Portsmouth NH. Mr. Bishop and Ms. Fuller are the founding directors of The Independent Eye Theatre, located in Sabastopol, California. Performances are offered on Thursday and Friday at 7:30pm, Saturday at 4pm, and Sunday at 2pm. Tickets are $24 and may be purchased online: www.pontine.org. Tickets may also be purchased at the door (cash & checks only) a half-hour prior to each performance, based on availability. Guest artist accommodations for this production are provided by Best Western Plus Wynwood Hotel & Suites.
The Independent Eye Theatre Ensemble uses many forms of storytelling to reflect shared human experience. Gifts brings theatre back to its most elemental and intimate essence. The two marvelously seasoned, evergreen performers create delicious, layered worlds before our eyes. This versatile two-person ensemble conjure characters and spin tales that are mythic, beautifully observed, lyrical and immediate.
GIFTS features Mr. Bishop and Ms Fuller, along with puppets, veils, a bowling trophy, an electric sander, a steering wheel and a pepper grinder. It offers three interlocked dramatic tales of love, loss, aging and change. A young couple are trapped on an endless freeway leading them back, at last, to another try at Life. A mid-life dream of a prestigious award dissolves into sanding a rusty fence, then ends in a banquet of riches. Elders moving into a dingy third-floor walkup discover gods in a cardboard box and risk accepting their very strange gift.
Since 1974, the company has played over 3,500 performances nationwide, including engagements at Seattle's New City Theatre, Chicago's Body Politic, Baltimore Theatre Project, Milwaukee's Theatre X, New York's CSC Repertory &?Theater for the New City, Dell'Arte Players' Mad River Festival, and many others.
Over the years the Independent Eye has collaborated with many companies, including Jean Cocteau Repertory, Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, Touchstone Theatre, Boston's Company One, and Berkeley's Shotgun Players. The company's radio works have been broadcast on more than 80 public stations. For 3 1/2 years, the company presented an ongoing radio series "Hitchhiking off the Map" on public stations in Northern California, a mix of drama and documentary about journeys of change, hosted by Bishop &?Fuller. All are available for free listening at www.independenteye.org.
Conrad Bishop & Elizabeth Fuller have collaborated in writing more than 60 produced plays, with stagings by Actors Theatre of Louisville, Circle Repertory, Denver Center Theatre, Barter Theatre, and many others, as well as by their own ensembles. They have received six fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and and are two-time recipients of National Endowment for the Arts Playwriting Fellowships. In 39 seasons, it has produced 78 shows, including 53 new plays, energetically resisting financial stability while depending on the kindness of strangers.
Pontine's 2013-14 season is funded by grants from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Serving audiences since 1977, Pontine Theatre has developed a sterling reputation for high-quality performances and educational programs. With an impressive repertoire of innovative, original productions, the company serves audiences both in its home town, Portsmouth, NH and throughout New England.