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Hampton Theatre Company Presents ALARMS AND EXCURSIONS in Quogue

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"Alarms and Excursions," a collection of rollicking comedies by "Noises Off" playwright Michael Frayn, will be the final offering of the Hampton Theatre Company's 2016-2017 season, opening on May 25 at the Quogue Community Hall and running through June 11.

The five separate "dizzyingly funny" (Variety) mini plays of "Alarms and Excursions" draw their humor, and their resonance, from the playwright's acute observations about the way longtime couples cope with our servitude to the so-called technological "advances" of the modern world and how their relationships are shaped by the routines and roles they have established with each other.

Like "Noises Off," the play takes its title from a stage direction, in this case the Elizabethan script note originally rendered in Shakespeare's first folio as "alarums and excursions." While "noises off" calls for sounds to be made offstage, "alarms and excursions" started out as a direction to the players to represent military action by loudly calling out "to arms!" and moving rapidly around the stage. The phrase eventually came to mean that everybody on stage should make as much noise as possible and run on and off stage repeatedly to depict chaos.

Fittingly, the first play of the series is titled "Alarms," about two couples trying to settle in for a quiet dinner together who wind up frantically trying to identify and respond to an ever-multiplying array of beeps, buzzers, remote phone signals, car alarms and security systems, all while being unable to connect to an angry caller speaking through an answering machine and insisting that someone "pick up!"

The same four characters return later in the show in "Leavings," which shows the aftermath of the earlier dinner party gone disastrously wrong. The other three plays of "Alarms and Excursions" are not linked and the four actors in the cast play different roles in each of them. In "Pig in the Middle," "Finishing Touches" and "Doubles," the playwright's focus is on the humor, and frequent frustration, of couples attempting to communicate with each other under both normal and extraordinary circumstances.

Writing about "Alarms and Excursions" in The Telegraph, Charles Spencer noted that the play is "enormous fun," singling out "particularly good stuff on all the fiendish new technology that is meant to make our lives so much easier but actually just provides new forms of torment." He also called "Doubles," the short play comprising the second act of the HTC production, "inspired bedroom farce."

The cast of "Alarms and Excursions" features four Hampton Theatre Company veterans-Andrew Botsford, Rosemary Cline, George A. Loizides and Jane Lowe Baldwin-each playing four different roles. Rosemary Cline and Jane Lowe Baldwin were last seen on the HTC stage last spring in "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" with castmate Andrew Botsford, who played U.S. President Charles Smith in last fall's production of David Mamet's "November." George A. Loizides, the director of last season's production of "Lost in Yonkers," appeared on stage in Quogue most recently in the 2014 production of "Heroes."

In addition to "Alarms and Excursions," and "Noises Off," Michael Frayn's best known plays include "Copenhagen," "Democracy" and "Benefactors." Also a novelist, he is the critically and commercially successful author of "Towards the End of the Morning," "Headlong" and "Spies," among others. Among his numerous awards and honors are two Laurence Olivier Awards for best comedy, a Tony Award, a New York Drama Critics Award, and six London Evening Standard Awards for best comedy or best new play.

HTC Artistic Director Diana Marbury directs. Set design is by Sean Marbury; lighting design by Sebastian Paczynski; and costumes by Teresa LeBrun.

New this season, the HTC is offering $15 discount tickets for audience members 35 and under, and an additional Saturday matinee performance on the final weekend of the production prior to the regular 8 p.m. performance that evening.

"Alarms and Excursions" runs at the Quogue Community Hall from May 25 to June 11 with shows on Thursdays and Fridays at 7, Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 2:30. The additional matinee performance of "Alarms and Excursions" will be presented on Saturday, June 10, at 2:30 p.m.

On Saturday, June 3, there will be a special benefit performance of "Alarms and Excursions." The audience will enjoy a glass of wine or beer and hors d'oeuvres at the theater at 6 p.m. prior to the 6:30 p.m. curtain, and there will be a cocktail reception and buffet following the performance at the Quogue Field Club. Tickets are $175 per person or $300 per couple. For more information, visit www.hamptontheatre.org, email info@hamptontheatre.org, or call 631-653-8955.

The Hampton Theatre Company will again be offering special dinner and theater packages in collaboration with the Westhampton, Southampton, Hampton Bays and Quogue libraries. Information about the dinner and theater packages is available at www.hamptontheatre.org, or through the libraries.

To reserve tickets, visit www.hamptontheatre.org, or call OvationTix at 1-866-811-4111.

Photo credit: Tom Kochie


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