YANKEE TAVERN to Hold Special 'Conspiracy' Talkback

YANKEE TAVERN to Hold Special 'Conspiracy' Talkback

Immediately following the matinée performance of Steven Dietz's Yankee Tavern on April 22, a talk and Q-and-A will explore the conspiracy theories that swirl around the World Trade Center disaster of 9/11, the subject at the heart of the play. The production's director and cast will join Prof. Gordon Arnold of Montserrat College of Art (Massachusetts) in a discussion of conspiracy theories and American culture. The talk will begin at approximately 4:00 pm, immediately following the April 22 matinée; people who have reservations for any of Yankee Tavern's ten performances are welcome to attend.

Arnold is the author of "Conspiracy Theory in Film, Television, and Politics," among other titles, and a scholar of American social and political culture; another book that revisits conspiracism in America is in the works. A Professor of Liberal Arts, he teaches courses in film history, animation history, and the social sciences. The college, founded by working artists, offers individualized education structured around experiential learning, studio practice, liberal arts, and professional preparation, leading to creative enterprise and community engagement. Arnold describes his students as "curious people who ask important questions about themselves and about the society in which they live. They have a healthy skepticism about the status quo." He should be quite at home with our audience.

In Dietz's play, a stranger walks into a venerable tavern in New York City, in a building about to be demolished, and the young owner and his fiancée find themselves caught up in the mystery-surely, the conspiracy-behind the horrible events of 9/11. Ray is an old family friend who sometimes lives in the empty hotel rooms above the bar...and in a mind where the world is driven by myriad conspiracies and ghosts visit the living. The stranger is the mysterious Palmer, who brings danger into the bar with him.

Arnold's talk will consider the reasons why our culture is so eager to embrace conspiracy theories such as those that have surrounded the assassination of President Kennedy, the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and other traumatic events of recent years. His presentation will be followed by questions and discussion involving the audience and the play's director and cast. We are all looking forward to a lively and informative post-performance experience.

Westport Community Theatre will present "Yankee Tavern," by Steven Dietz, from April 13 through 29, including three Sunday matinées and one Thursday-evening performance. Directed by Ruth Anne Baumgartner, the cast includes Rachel Dalton (Janet), Phillip Lorenzo (Palmer), Frank Smith (Ray), and Ward Whipple (Adam). "Yankee Tavern" is produced by arrangement with Dramatists Play Service.

Tickets are $25 ($23 for seniors, $15 for students) and can be purchased at westportcommunitytheatre.com or by calling (203) 226-1983. For directions, go to westportcommunitytheatre.com - the theatre is located at the Westport Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Avenue.

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