Will Eno's MIDDLETOWN to Open Next at Actors' Shakespeare Project, 2/16

Continuing its 9th season - "Turning Toward Home" - Actors' Shakespeare Project will formally introduce our production of Will Eno's Middletown.

Winner of the inaugural Horton Foote Award for Most Promising New Play of 2010, Middletown explores "love and forgiveness, the search for meaning in life, and the long, lonely ache if disappointment" through the lens of small town America.

Mary Swanson just moved to Middletown. About to have her first child, she is eager to enjoy the neighborly bonds a small town promises. But life in Middletown is complicated: neighbors are near strangers and moments of connection are fleeting. Middletown is a playful, poignant portrait of a town with two lives, one ordinary and visible, the other epic and mysterious.

A deeply moving and profoundly comic play from one of the country's finest young theatrical voices, The New York Times says Eno's gift for "articulating life's absurd beauty and its no less absurd horrors may be unmatched among writers of his generation."

"After producing Living in Exile and The Hotel Nepenthe, we discovered a resonance in supporting fresh voices on the American landscape," said ASP Artistic Director Allyn Burrows. "Will Eno provides a fascinating insight into the modern human condition that is symbiotic with our ongoing explorations of Shakespeare's work."

Doug Lockwood, founding ASP company member and faculty member at the Boston Conservatory, will direct the production, his second for ASP, which features company members Steven Barkhimer, Marianna Bassham, Paula Langton and Michael Forden Walker and an ensemble of guest artists including Esme Allen, Gabriel Kuttner, Margaret Lamb and Grant MacDermott. "As a founding company member, Doug is an insightful director ant the perfect creative force to helm this project," Burrows said.

Eno, whose monologue Thom Pain (based on nothing) was a Pulitzer Prize finalist, is a Helen Merrill Playwriting Fellow, a recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship and an Edward F. Albee Foundation fellow.

Founded in 2004, ASP has produced 34 plays at 17 venues throughout Greater Boston, such as the Old South Meeting House, the Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, the Strand Theatre in Dorchester, The Modern Theatre at Suffolk University, the Basement of the Garage in Harvard Square and the Armory in Somerville, among others. ASP's resident company of actors and teaching artists approaches each play as the centerpiece of a larger community project. The projects include not only the award- winning productions that focus on language, relationships and storytelling, but a rich set of events, residencies and outreach programs for both adults and youth that explore the plays in visceral and personal ways, making connections between the plays and our lives here and now. These include open rehearsals, Shakespeare in the Schools programs, teacher training institutes, youth programs (Incarcerated Youth at Play, the Shakespeare on the Out after-school program, and a Summer Youth Intensive), and community projects.

Middletown by Will Eno, directed by Doug Lockwood, will play Theater at the Cambridge YMCA | Central Square, 820 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, Mass. Previews: February 13, 14 & 15 at 7:30 p.m. Press opening: February 16 at 8:00 p.m. Runs through March 10.

Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Sundays at 2 p.m., with post-show discussion
Group rates available - contact: groups@actorsshakespeareproject.org for more information

PRICES: Previews: $28-40. All other performances: $33-50. Available at actorsshakespeareproject.org or 866.811.4111.

Open rehearsal:
Saturday, February 2 at 11 a.m.; Upstairs at The Garage, 36 JFK Street, Harvard Square (Cambridge). Event is free but reservations are encouraged: RSVP to events@actorsshakespeareproject.org

Post show discussions will follow each Sunday matinee. Admission is free to the discussion if you are not at the performance. Reservations required. Please call 617.776.2200 x225 for details.

Esme Allen
Steven Barkhimer*
Marianna Bassham*
Gabriel Kuttner*
Margaret Lamb
Paula Langton*
Grant MaDermott
Michael Forden Walker*

Production Artists:
Costume Designer: Kendra Bell
Lighting Designer: Jeff Adelberg
Scenic Designer: Emily Nichols
Sound Designer: David Reiffel
Production Manager: Deb Sullivan
Stage Manager: Cassie M. Seinuk*
Director: Doug Lockwood

*Members of the Actors' Equity Association, the union of professional actors & stage managers in the United States

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