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Absurd Person Singular to Run at Bristol Riverside Theatre, Nov. 11-30

Bristol Riverside Theatre continues its 2008-2009 season with Absurd Person Singular by British playwright Alan Ayckbourn, one of the most prolific and widely performed of English language playwrights. Gus Kaikkonen directs this charming, modern romantic comedy that looks at the game of love through the kitchens of three married couples and their fortunes on Christmas.

The show begins previews November 11 opens November 13, and closes November 30, 2008. Tickets are $29 - $37, with $10 student tickets, and are available by calling the Box Office at (215) 785-0100 or visiting the theatre at 120 Radcliffe Street in Bristol, with information online at www.brtstage.org.

Absurd Person Singular comes from the author of BRT's acclaimed production of Communicating Doors. Each couple, at a crossroads in their relationship, finds something inescapably captivating in one another. Sidney (played by Dan Hodge) is an eager social climber who shares a simple innocence with his submissive wife Jane (Kate Hampton). Jane is continually loyal and loves to put hard work into her house. Geoffrey (Jack Koenig) is an architect who falls from grace and mistreats his wife, Eva (Susan Riley Stevens), but still tries to do right by her. Eva is an artist who is emotionally unstable. Ronald (Keith Baker) is a banker who enjoys the finer things in life while his wife Marion (Lisa Bostnar) continues to waste away in a bottle of alcohol.

With a current relevance decades later, Absurd Person Singular is also a commentary on the division of social classes and how quickly one can rise or fall. Ayckbourn told the Bishops Stortford Gazette in 1990, "It was originally intended as a slightly veiled attack on the get-rich-quick society which has got even worse since then. It seems even more relevant today than it did when I first wrote it."

Absurd Person Singular made its London debut in 1972 and its Broadway debut in 1974. The BBC produced a 1985 television drama, adapted from the play which starred Michael Gambon. Manhattan Theatre Company revived the play in 2005.

About the Director

BRT Artistic Director Keith Baker has known guest director Gus Kaikkonen for years and was excited to find an opportunity for him to direct a BRT production. A well-known freelance director, Kaikkonen is also the Artistic Director of the Peterborough Players, a professional resident stock theater in Peterborough, New Hampshire where he has directed many productions. He has directed Off-Broadway productions of Arms and the Man, Heartbreak House, Gentleman Dancing Master and I Have Been Here Before (Pearl Theatre), The Voysey Inheritance, Richard III with Austin Pendleton, MacBeth with Stephen McHattie, and Candida with Laurie Kennedy, among others. Regionally, he has directed at Philadelphia Theatre Company, Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival, Ford's Theatre, Coconut Grove Playhouse, GeVa Theatre Center, Folger Theatre, and BoarsHead Theatre, among others. An actor and playwright as well, he made his Broadway debut in the original cast of Equus, appeared in Tommy Tune's production of Cloud 9 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre and won Vermont's 2000 Bessie Award for Best Actor for his performance of Richard III at the Lost Nation Theater. For the last six years Kaikkonen has been a visiting artist and director at the Juilliard School in New York.

About the Cast & Designers

The Absurd Person Singular cast is a mix of local actors and New York-based actors who have previously worked with Kaikkonen. New York actors new to BRT are: Lisa Bostnar who has appeared at many Off-Broadway venues including Riverside Shakespeare, Mint Theatre Company, BAM, and New Federal Theatre, in addition to regional, film and TV work; Kate Hampton whose Broadway credits include The Best Man and The Deep Blue Sea and who has been seen locally in Loot at Arden Theatre Company; and Jack Koenig who spent three years in the Broadway production of The Lion King and starred in several productions under Kaikkonen's direction at Peterborough Players.

Philadelphia area cast members making their debuts at BRT are Dan Hodge and Susan Riley Stevens - both South Philly residents. Hodge can currently be seen as Victor Frankenstein in Neal Bell's Monster for Luna Theater Company and was recently the title character in Woyzeck for EgoPo Productions. Stevens was most recently seen as Regan in King Lear at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival.

Bristol's Keith Baker has previously worked with Ayckbourn and starred in By Jeeves, a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ayckbourn, in a 1996 production directed by the playwright at the Goodspeed Opera House. Baker appeared last season in BRT's production of Copenhagen and most recently directed The Spitfire Grill.

Kaikkonen has also brought to BRT new design talent with New-York based set designer Charles Morgan and lighting designer Eric Larson. Linda Bee Stockton, who recently worked on The Spitfire Grill at BRT, is designing costumes.

About the Playwright

Alan Ayckbourn is not only one of the most prolific and widely performed playwrights in the English language; he is also a highly regarded theatre director. Since 1972, he has been the Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, where the majority of his work has premiered. Ayckbourn has written 72 full length plays, more than half of which have gone on to London's West End. He has directed more than 300 plays, including the West End premieres of the majority of his plays. He has received more than 25 awards and honors, including an Olivier Award and Moliere Award.

In 1994, he received a Montblanc de la Culture Award for Europe for 'establishing a thriving theatrical tradition in Scarborough and for his dedication and commitment to it'. In addition to holding a number of honorary degrees, he was appointed a CBE in 1987 and in 1997 was knighted for services to the theatre.

Ayckbourn's plays have been regularly produced in America and more than 10 of his plays have been produced on Broadway and Off-Broadway. In 1975 he held the record of having the most plays simultaneously running on Broadway (The Norman Conquests trilogy and Absurd Person Singular).

Tickets & Subscriptions
Bristol Riverside Theatre is located at 120 Radcliffe Street in Bristol, PA. 2008-2009 Season subscriptions and individual tickets are available by visiting the theatre or calling the BRT Box Office at (215) 785-0100 with information online at www.BRTstage.org. Subscriptions range from $99 - $125 for adults and $50 for students.

About Bristol Riverside Theatre
Since 1986, BRT has brought consistently acclaimed professional theatre to Bucks County and maintained a long-term commitment to finding and developing new plays. The theatre is the recipient of over 50 Barrymore Award nominations for Excellence in Theatre, given annually by the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia. In addition to its mainstage productions, the theatre serves as a cultural hub for the community, with such programs as children's theatre, community concerts and exhibitions of local visual arts. Currently under the direction of Artistic Director Keith Baker and Founding Producing Director Susan D. Atkinson, BRT enters its 22nd season.

 


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