World premiere comedy Red Maple at Capital Repertory Theatre
Jan. 25–Feb. 17
MainStage work by Albany playwright David Bunce is first
regional NEXT ACT! winner
ALBANY, N.Y.—JAN. 8, 2019—A dinner party. Two couples. Old friends all. What could go wrong?
A better question might be what could go right?
David Bunce’s comedy Red Maple is a love story for empty nesters. It makes its world premiere at Capital Repertory Theatre, Jan. 25–Feb. 17.
In the two-act romp, set in the Albany suburbs, Bunce pits Robert Morton Ph.D. and his wife, Stephanie, against John Hartley and his wife, Karen, in a careening evening of secrets, revelations and lies. The collective kids are finally on their own, and both couples, thirty years on, are coming to terms with what happens next—and wondering if it still involves each other.
Eventually everything is brilliantly and completely upended by an unexpected interloper, bringing the squabbling parties together in ways they might never have anticipated.
Bunce is well-known to area audiences for his long onstage career with New York State Theatre Institute, and for his subsequent work with Theatre Institute at Sage. As an actor he has often participated in play development, but this time he is in the hot seat, working the script with a sharply funny cast and theREP’s Assistant Artistic Director Margaret Hall.
The play comes to theREP as the winning entry in NEXT ACT! New Play Summit 6, and Hall, who is directing, has been with the property since its first table read.
“It was submitted blindly,” she says, “and it rose to the top of all of the reading rounds and was the hands down the favorite of audience members who attended the summit that fall of 2017.”
“It’s very unusual, as a director, to have the opportunity for this kind of investment. You’re usually working on a complete script that’s already been set and staged many times before. It’s supremely exciting, in this case, to be in the room with what is already a great script and to be able to participate in fine tuning it.”
Bunce says. “In the past, as an actor, I’ve asked all these detailed, detailed questions myself as part of the process of play development. To be on the other side, as the playwright, with everyone asking such pointed things is fascinating. We’re making the play even funnier.”
The play’s curious title comes from Robert, a recently out of work academic who passes a large tree on his daily travels, marveling from one direction at its strength and resolve, and the fact that, from the other vantage, it is clearly sundered to allow for passage of ugly power lines. Living an untruth, he feels like the tree, which is actually a Norway maple, so he can’t even get that right!
“Sometimes tracks that come together diverge,” Halls says. “Sometimes when the kids are gone, there’s a loneliness and a shock and a surprise of how separate lives can appear.”
“This is a comedy that deals with real issues, in the real world, in a lighthearted way. These couples truly are still in love with each other. Red Maple will resonate with everyone who has a relationship in their lives—it doesn’t have to be a marriage.”
James Lloyd Reynolds, making his debut at theREP playing Robert, has an impressive resume in regional theatre, with three seasons at Goodspeed Musicals and stops at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Gulfshore Playhouse, Syracuse Stage, Weston Playhouse and others.
Stephanie, played by Elizabeth Rouse, has no clue how far her husband has gone off the rails. Rouse has a strong background in comedy and drama, having played Shakespeare in New York and London. Television roles include 30 Rock, The Carrie Diaries, The Sopranos, and Law and Order SVU.
Capital Repertory Theatre veteran Oliver Wadsworth, who has appeared on Pearl Street in The Taming of the Shrew, Take Me Out and Fully Committed plays John Hartley, an architectural photographer trying to find his place in the world through his lens, only to learn that it’s far away from his wife and children. Wadsworth has also been seen locally at Dorset Theatre Festival, WAM, Hubbard Hall, Saratoga Shakespeare, Adirondack Theatre Festival and Oldcastle Theatre.
Yvonne Perry is a professional actress, director and educator. Recently named an associate artist at theREP, Perry portrays Karen Hartley, a woman at swim in her own marriage. Perry, vice chair of the Greater Albany Area Liaison of Actors’ Equity, has been at seen at theREP in Blithe Spirit, Naked Influence, The God Game, The Sisters Rosensweig, A Christmas Story and others.
Julia Knitel, who has worked extensively in New York, completes the cast as Theresa, a budding real estate shark. Knitel was recently at Proctors as the lead in the first national tour of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Red Maplemarks her debut at theREP.
Brian Prather, who designed sets for Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, returns for Red Maple, joining a production team that includes Lighting Designer Rob Denton; Costume Designer David Rigler; and Sound Designer Fan Zhang.
Previews for Red Maple take place Jan. 25–Jan. 27. Opening night is Tuesday, Jan. 29. Regular performances continue through Sunday, Feb. 17. Performance times: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; and 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday—with matinees 3 p.m. Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday; and 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6. Capital Repertory Theatre, 111 N. Pearl Street, Albany. Tickets range from $22–$57. Students with valid ID: $16 all shows. For tickets and information, call Tickets by Proctors, 518.445.SHOW (7469) or visit capitalrep.org.
Opening night features live music from Woodstock songwriter Eric Erickson in the café at 6:30 p.m. and complimentary post-show champagne and dessert from Bella Napoli Bakery.
Special events include:
5:30 p.m. Friday Feb. 1—Opening reception for On the Way to the Compost Pile, Digital Paintings by Cathy Frank. Exhibit will run through Feb. 17.
6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5—Chef’s Table performance includes complimentary light fare from Albany Pump Station for ticketholders.
7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6—Pre-show Discussion about new play development, led by Producing Artistic Director Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill, with ticketholders and playwright David Bunce.
6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb 7: Thirsty Thursday performance includes complimentary adult beverage tastings from Albany Pump Station for ticketholders.
6 p.m. Tuesday, February 12— Young Professionals Networking Event. Purchase a ticket for this performance using code NETWORKING and meet with other local young professionals.
12:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17—Behind-the-Scenes, a chance to meet playwright David Bunce in a pre-matinee discussion about creating new works, with Producing Artistic Director Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill, featuring light snacks for ticketholders.
Red Maple is part of the 2018–2019 Season
at Capital Repertory Theatre.