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Entertainment Highlights: About Death, but Not Morbid

‘The Shadow Box’ Takes on Mortality, but Maintains a Sense of Humor

  • Left, Laine Gillespie plays Beverly and Joe Guarino is Mark in The Shadow Box. (Courtesy photo)

    Left, Laine Gillespie plays Beverly and Joe Guarino is Mark in The Shadow Box. (Courtesy photo)

  •  Darby Hiebert is Maggie and Charlie Buttrey is Joe in the Parish Players' "The Shadow Box." (Courtesy photograph)

    Darby Hiebert is Maggie and Charlie Buttrey is Joe in the Parish Players' "The Shadow Box." (Courtesy photograph)

  • Sally Pinkas and Evan Hirsch photographed in Spaulding Auditorium at Dartmouth College on Tuesday, December 20, 2011.<br/><br/>Rob Strong

    Sally Pinkas and Evan Hirsch photographed in Spaulding Auditorium at Dartmouth College on Tuesday, December 20, 2011.

    Rob Strong

  • Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh joins pianist-in-residence Sally Pinkas and the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music quartet for a performance at Dartmouth College's Spaulding Auditorium on Nov. 13, 2013, at 7 p.m. (Jill Steinberg photograph)

    Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh joins pianist-in-residence Sally Pinkas and the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music quartet for a performance at Dartmouth College's Spaulding Auditorium on Nov. 13, 2013, at 7 p.m. (Jill Steinberg photograph)

  • Boston-based Flamenco guitarist Juanito Pascual will perform at the Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction on Friday, Nov. 8, 2013. (Courtesy photograph)

    Boston-based Flamenco guitarist Juanito Pascual will perform at the Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction on Friday, Nov. 8, 2013. (Courtesy photograph)

  • Left, Laine Gillespie plays Beverly and Joe Guarino is Mark in The Shadow Box. (Courtesy photo)
  •  Darby Hiebert is Maggie and Charlie Buttrey is Joe in the Parish Players' "The Shadow Box." (Courtesy photograph)
  • Sally Pinkas and Evan Hirsch photographed in Spaulding Auditorium at Dartmouth College on Tuesday, December 20, 2011.<br/><br/>Rob Strong
  • Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh joins pianist-in-residence Sally Pinkas and the Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music quartet for a performance at Dartmouth College's Spaulding Auditorium on Nov. 13, 2013, at 7 p.m. (Jill Steinberg photograph)
  • Boston-based Flamenco guitarist Juanito Pascual will perform at the Tupelo Music Hall in White River Junction on Friday, Nov. 8, 2013. (Courtesy photograph)

On one hand, Kevin Fitzpatrick was drawn to direct The Shadow Box , a meditation on death in play form, because of its substance and its depth.

“Our mortality is part of the human condition,” said Fitzpatrick, a Brownsville resident. We don’t necessarily have to dwell on it, he said, “but we each have to stare it down.”

But he was also drawn to the play because its thought-provoking themes would be the perfect fit for The Parish Players, a theater group pushing to revitalize itself.

The Thetford troupe will premiere its production of The Shadow Box at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, and the three-weekend run will conclude on Sunday, Nov. 23. It’s the second play in The Parish Players’ Revival Series, during which it will restage past plays up until its 50th anniversary in 2016. The Shadow Box was previously staged in Thetford in 1980.

“It’s a play I’ve always wanted to do,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s a play that is in line with this revival series ... This is the kind of show that The Parish Players made its reputation on.”

The series, according to Fitzpatrick, should also serve as a step toward climbing out of a “fallow period” in recent years. Part of the goal, he said, is to get a new production in the calendar every month.

The Shadow Box , which was written by Michael Cristofer and made its Broadway debut in 1977 (and won the Pulitzer Prize for drama that year), follows three ill patients in three hospital vacation cabins over the course of a day. They meet with friends, families and lovers, as well as speak to a hospital interviewer.

Fitzpatrick said that although the play deals with death, it’s not necessarily a downer throughout. In fact, it’s packed with humor, he said.

Sunday’s performance of The Shadow Box will be a benefit for Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice of Vermont and New Hampshire. According to Fitzpatrick, the themes of the play line up with the mission of the organization.

“The arts, to me, don’t live in a vacuum,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s part of the community. We’re community theater, right? It should be able to reach into the community above and beyond someone just buying a ticket and coming through your door.”

Ticket prices to the benefit show will be lifted to $25, and there will be a post-show discussion.

Kurt Feuer, who in the show plays Brian, a patient with an ex-wife and a gay lover, was attracted to the play because its main issue is always a current one, but also because it doesn’t get bogged down in sadness.

“I think it’s the sense of fun in some of the scenes that I have, the warmth of the relationships and the love behind it,” Feuer said. “That’s what it’s about. It’s about the relationships between people.”

The Parish Players will perform “The Shadow Box” for the next three Fridays and Saturdays, with shows starting at 7:30 p.m., as well as Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. on Nov. 17 and Nov. 23. Tickets are $15 for adults. Sunday’s $25 benefit matinee is at 3 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling 802-785-4344.

Best Bet

Boston-based Flamenco guitarist Juanito Pascual will perform at the Tupelo Music Hall on Friday, bringing along a bassist (Brad Barrett) and percussionist (Tupac Mantilla) to form the Juanito Pascual New Flamenco Trio. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20, and can be purchased from tupelohallvermont.com.

Looking Ahead

Enfield’s Shaker Bridge Theatre will present its second play of its season, Tom Dudzick’s comedy Miracle on South Division Street, from Friday, Dec. 6 to Sunday, Dec. 22. The play follows the Buffalo-based Nowak family, which has lived on supposedly holy land since the family grandfather had a vision of the Virgin Mary there seven decades ago. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $30 for adults, and reservations can be made by calling 603-448-3750 or emailing reservations@shakerbridgetheatre.org.

Music

Multi-faceted musician and artist Peter Mulvey, who works in jazz and acoustic music as well as poetry and narrative, will perform at the Chandler Center for the Arts at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $20 in advance and $23 day of show for adults, and can be purchased from chandler-arts.org or by calling 802-728-6464.

∎ Journey Church will present “An Evening with Sara Groves,” the Christian singer-songwriter with a 10-album catalog, at the Woodstock Town Hall Theatre at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. Tickets are $12 for general admission, and can be purchased at pentaglearts.org.

∎ The Dartmouth College Glee Club will perform “Mysticism and Majesty,” which includes pieces by Part, Haydn and Brahms, at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $10 for general admission, and can be purchased from hop.dartmouth.edu.

Theatre

The Hopkins Center for the Arts will show Puccini’s Tosca as part of the Met Opera Live in HD series. The opera will have two showings in Hanover, at 1 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. The Saturday showing will be held at the Loew Auditorium, and the Sunday presentation will be in the Spaulding Auditorium. Tickets range from $26 to $29, and can be purchased from hop.dartmouth.edu.

∎ Northern Stage continues its run of God of Carnage, a play in which two sets of parents meet to talk about their kids’ playground fight and gradually resort to similar tactics over the course of the meeting, through Nov. 17. This week’s shows will take place tonight, Friday, Saturday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., with matinees at 2 p.m. today and 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets range from $15 to $60, and can be purchased from northernstage.org.

∎ The Dartmouth Theater Department will begin its run of Big Love, a play about 50 brides-to-be who run to Italy to escape their impending marriages, starting on Friday. Tickets are $12 for general admission, and can be purchased at hop.dartmouth.edu. This week’s shows are on Friday, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Film

White River Junction’s Tupelo Music Hall will host a screening of part two of Freedom & Unity: The Vermont Movie, titled Under the Surface, tonight at 7:30 p.m. All six parts of the movie, a multi-director effort that charts Vermont’s history and culture, will be shown at Tupelo this month. General admission tickets are $8 at the door.

∎ The Hop is presenting the 2006 film Rescue Dawn, starring Christian Bale and directed by Werner Herzog, one of this year’s Montgomery Fellows. Tickets are $8 for general admission to tonight’s showing at 7 p.m. Go to hop.dartmouth.edu for information.

Comedy

Comedic songsmiths Christine Lavin & Don White will perform at Haverhill’s Alumni Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $20 to the show, and can be purchased from alumnihall.org.

Dances

The Dartmouth Dance Ensemble will perform disCONNECTed, a series of modern dance set to modern music (Radiohead, Gary Jules, et al.), at the Top of the Hop at 3 p.m. on Saturday. The show is free.

∎ Tupelo will host a Teen Dance Night at its White River Junction location, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday. The event is for underage patrons, and no alcohol or drugs are allowed. Tickets are $8 and can be purchased from tupelohallvermont.com. For more information, call 603-359-6164.

Talks

On Wednesday, author Archer Mayor will lead a free talk about his new mystery, Three Can Keep a Secret, at the Quechee Library. The story is the latest in Mayor’s Joe Gunther series, and is set after Tropical Storm Irene. The talk begins at 7 p.m., with desserts offered beforehand. A $5 donation is suggested for the dessert.

Bar and Club Circuit

Vermont-based acoustic country group The Woedoggies will play at Hartland’s Skunk Hallow Tavern on Friday. The music starts at 9 p.m.

∎ Singer and violinist Joyce Andersen will visit The Flying Goose in New London tonight, with the show starting at 8 p.m.

∎ Jim Hollis, the Beatles-inspired pop and rock musician, will perform at the Salt hill Pub in Lebanon starting at 9 p.m. on Friday. The next night, the bar will host classic rock group Borderstone at 9 p.m.

∎ Frydaddy front man Carlos O’Casio will play at Hanover’s Salt hill Pub at 9 p.m. on Friday. At the same time on Saturday, Seacoast-based funk rock group Amorphous Band will return to the pub.

∎ Baldilocks will return to Salt hill Newport on Friday, starting at 9 p.m. The next night, the Malicious Bros. will play the pub at 9 p.m.

∎ Nashville recording artist Clay Canfield brings his talents to the River Stones Tavern in Quechee on Fridays and Saturdays, starting at 8 p.m. He also performs at Bentleys Restaurant in Woodstock on Sundays, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

∎ Lydia Gray & Ed Eastridge will perform at Hanover’s Canoe Club tonight, combining both American and Brazilian sounds. On Friday, Randall Mullen will play piano, and on Saturday Phil Singer will play guitar. Keith Bush will perform on the piano Sunday, as will Gillian Joy on Tuesday. Finally, Phil Singer will perform again on Wednesday.

∎ Fairlee-based rock band Hi-Way 5 will play at West Lebanon’s Seven Barrel Brewery starting at 9 p.m. on Friday.

Open Mics

∎ Salt hill Pub in Hanover runs an open mic, hosted by Chad Gibbs, on Mondays at 7 p.m.

∎ At Salt hill in Lebanon, Brian Warren and Seth Barbiero will host an open mic tonight starting at 8.

∎ Brian Warren also hosts an open mic at Bentleys Restaurant in Woodstock. It’s on Mondays, starting at 8:30 pm.

∎ Bradford’s Colatina Exit hosts an open mic on Tuesdays starting at 8 p.m.

∎ The Seven Barrel Brewery in West Lebanon runs an open mic on Wednesdays, beginning at 8 p.m.

∎ Gregory Brown hosts an open mic at Hartland’s Skunk Hollow Tavern, beginning at 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Jon Wolper can be reached at jwolper@vnews.com or 603-727-3242. Send Highlights information to Highlights@vnews.com.