Oldcastle Theatre Gives Peek Behind its New Stage CurtainJuly 21, 2012
Hope is to open performances in early October BENNINGTON - Oldcastle Theatre Company this week announced "hopeful" plans for a short 2012 season of three plays from October to December - highlighted by the world premier of "Northern Boulevard" by Bennington favorite Carlton Carpenter - with the theater in full swing in 2013.
Eric Peterson, producing artistic director, talked this week about plans for Oldcastle's new stage in its new home, the former Knights of Columbus building at 331 Main St.
Peterson said the planned three-play 2012 season to "tentatively" begin in October, with 10 total plays planned in a "transition period" of late 2012 and throughout 2013. He added that the theater planned to return to a more traditional theater summer schedule in 2014.
The 2012 schedule will open with Thorton Wilder's often adapted romantic farce "The Matchmaker" in early October, followed by "Northern Boulevard" in November, and a revival of an Oldcastle holiday tradition, Tom Muka's "Jacoby Marley's Christmas Carol" in time for the holidays.
"If we can do all three, if we can open in October - and those are still big 'ifs"... we will open with Thorton Wilder's classic comedy "The Matchmaker," Peterson said. "We are doing that for a lot of reasons. It has a big cast, there will be a lot of people on stage.... it is set in the 1880s. It is very colorful, very costumed.
"We go from there with 'Northern Boulevard,' a fine, old-fashioned musical.... People around here know Carlton, but what they don't know so much about him... as a composer... This is just a wonderful show. A funny piece about a couple. It starts shortly before World War II and runs over the next four decades.... It is very charming.
"Then we will close this year, if everything goes right, with 'Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol,' a holiday show we did a few years ago, so we can bring it back on short notice.... It is the kind of play I love: Four actors doing lots of roles.... It is a lot of fun."
Before the play schedule starts, however, there will still be a little action on the Oldcastle stage.
The theater company will hold a special fundraiser cabaret and auction evening next month as "Oldcastle Celebrates Downtown: A Cabaret and Auction," is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 25. Starting at 6 p.m. with cocktails, "pub" fare supplied by Carmody's, and a silent auction, the entertainment will be a varied cabaret performance, mostly by Oldcastle veterans, as well as a live wine auction sponsored by Santé Magazine starting at 8 p.m.
During the interview, Peterson also gave hint that the Oldcastle's building will not be used by Oldcastle Theatre Company alone.
"We want to keep the doors open, with some performance for the public, about 125 days a year," Peterson said. "That is going to require a lot of activity, not just from us. We are going be announcing, hopefully, shortly, a second company in residence here. And we are looking for a third company."
"We are looking into doing movies. We are going to have speaker series. We are going to have music here," he said. "We are talking about a whole wide range of activities. We plan to be as busy as possible."
Founded in 1972, Oldcastle is a professional Equity theater that has produced more than 300 plays.
- Bennington Banner
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