Don Juan: a modern and relevant telling of this classic play now at the Westport Country Playhouse

don juan 1

The classic story of Don Juan is now on stage at the famous Westport Country Playhouse.  Most of us have heard about the legendary lover and seducer, Don Juan, but his tale written by the  Playwright Molière (1622-1673) is very different.  This translation by Brendan Pelsue, and adaptation and direction by David Kennedy will forever change the way you think about the character Don Juan

This is a thoroughly modern and avant garde production of this classic tale.  In a world where more value is put on the cult of personality and moral integrity is cast aside, this staging of Don Juan is both relevant and compelling.

Don Juan 2

You have never seen Don Juan like this before in this modern-dress production of the satirical, classic comic tale. As he moves through the play  the notorious seducer leaves behind a trail of broken hearts,unpaid bills, and scandals.  He cares little for the destruction he brings on his debtors, or the women he leaves behind.  He allows Sganarelle, his loyal servant  to clean up his messes.  During the play Don Juan seduces one woman after another.  He cares not for them or their feeling as long as he can satisfy his own ego and personal cravings.  He wears a light suit of gold indicating though he is a “noble” it is all gilded and beneath the veneer he is a shallow narcissist.  He even wears a shirt of black and gold that spells out “Narcissist” but only backward so only he can be read in a mirror.

westport_playhouse_don_juan_goodwin_westrate_bycrosegg-6

His man servant Sganarelle acts not only as his fixer and his buffer from all that is unpleasant, but serves as his moral conscience.  It is Sganarelle that implores him to see the damage he does by his behavior and to repent.  Don Juan ignores his pleas and reminds him he has years to live before he will even consider changing his immoral ways.

“When I originally proposed that we produce ‘Don Juan,’ I thought 2019 was the perfect time to revive this acerbically comic tale of an undisciplined, thin-skinned narcissist who blazes a path of destruction through the world, upending institutions and social norms, destabilizing everything, offending all decency and morality, and leaving a trail of wreckage in his wake. I can’t ever imagine why,” said  David Kennedy, the director.

In Act Two Don Juan has an encounter with the ghost from his wicked past in the form of a statue of a man he once killed.  It is here we find Don Juan, dressed not as a playboy but more like a modern politician that he must finally confront his own lack of morality.  You must wait to the dramatic conclusion to see his fate.

Don Juan is  played by Nick Westrate (2012 Drama Desk award winner, numerous Broadway, Off-Broadway roles),  Sganarelle, Don Juan’s sidekick, played by Bhavesh Patel (Broadway’s “The Nap,” “Present Laughter” opposite Kevin Klein; Lincoln Center Theater’s “War Horse”). Philip Goodwin portrays Don Juan’s father Don Louis (Broadway’s “Tartuffe,” “The School for Scandal,” “The Diary of Anne Frank”).

Other cast members are Jordan Bellow as Don Carlos (New York theater’s “Interior”; regional theater’s “A Raisin in the Sun”; television’s “Gotham”); Paul DeBoy as Mr. Gusman/Statue  (Broadway’s “Mamma Mia!”; television’s ““Leviathan”); Carson Elrod as Pierrot/Dimanche (Westport Country Playhouse’s “Bedroom Farce,” “How the Other Half Loves,” and others; Broadway’s “Peter and the Starcatcher”); Suzy Jane Hunt as Dona Elvira (Broadways’ “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Dead Accounts”; television’s “The Americans”); Bobby Roman as Don Alonzo (film credits “The Challenger,” “Tapestry,” “One Night in Brooklyn”); Ariana Venturi as Charlotte (five seasons at Berkshire Theatre Festival; Alya Feinburg in season two of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”); and Claudia Logan as Mathurine/The Ghost (HBO’s “Random Acts of Flyness,” “The Deuce”; Netflix’s “Tales of the City”).

The creative team includes Marsha Ginsberg, scenic design, and Sam Vawter, associate scenic design; Katherine Roth, costume design; Matthew Richards, lighting design; Fitz Patton, original music and sound design; Michael Rossmy, fight director and intimacy coach ; Karin White, props supervisor; Dana Tanner-Kennedy,  Tara Rubin Casting, Laura Schutzel  and Claire Burke, CSA; and Shane Schnetzler, production stage manager.

This is a thought provoking and finely crafted production that will have you discussing the performance long after the curtain has come down.  See Don Juan now through November 23rd.

for tickets and information >>>>>https://www.westportplayhouse.org

Westport Country Playhouse

25 Powers Court  Westport Ct

like I on The Valley on facebook  http://www.facebook.com/ionthevalley

instagram  join our over 12,000 followers @i_on_the_valley

Mlima’s Tale: a powerful and moving drama of the illegal ivory trade now at the Westport Country Playhouse

 

Mlima_1748x966_NEW

A powerful, moving and thought provoking play is now on stage at the Westport Country PlayhouseMlima’s Tale is a compelling drama written by two time Pulitizer Prize winner Lynn Nottage and directed by Mark Lamos.  The play was featured Off-Broadway in 2018 and this is its first production since then and cannot be missed.

MlimasTale_173[1]

The story of Mlima’s Tale is  of a famous and beloved Kenyan elephant named Mlima who lives in a protected national park, but is still being hunted by poachers involved in the illegal ivory trade.   The story follows the hunting of Mlima and the transport of the precious tusks of this animal to Vietnam and finally on to China.  Along the way the elements of human greed, corruption, and crime are exposed as part of this illicit trade.

The author brings not only great respect to the elephants and their plight, but humanizes them during the performance.  We hear the voices of the elephants as they run through the brush to escape the poachers, and as they cry out for loved ones.  It is traumatic tale that grabs the audience and does not let them go. Jermaine Rowe plays Mlima and his words and body language give a voice to this wonderful animal.  After the hunt Mr. Rowe takes on the part of the soul or the spirit of Mlima as the tusks are being transported.  He follow along the trade route and  physically touches each of the persons involved in the trade and marks them with the sign of their crime with white chalk.

MamboMaria&Gino (1024x1280)

The message of “Mlima’s Tale” is straight forward, clear and direct. This is like no other drama I have ever seen on stage.  The set is simple and allows the actors and the story to drive the message.  The back screen of the stage is lit with changing images as well as  written quotes that convey the inhumanity of how we share this planet with other beings, and harvest them as if they had no soul.   This unique approach to story telling is quite compelling and I found myself riveted to the action on stage during the performance.  The somberness of the subject matter, the creative story telling, and the projected imagery of the written quotes constantly has the audience contemplating the seriousness of the elephant’s plight, and that of all exploited animals.    The play is 90 minutes long with no intermission.  There is no usual break to reflect on what is happening to in the play, but rather the audience is drawn into the story until its conclusion.  Like all his work, director Mark Lamos has done a brilliant job with this unique drama.

The other  three cast members  have the task of playing multiple roles including Kenyan hunters, corrupt officials, Kenyan park rangers, ivory traders, an American ship captain, Vietnamese port officials, and even a wealthy Chinese woman looking to buy an ivory trinket for her luxury flat.  Jeannean Farmer, Adit Dileep and Carl Hendrick Louis are up to the task of the many characters they play. Each has an impressive resume of Broadway, Off Broadway, and television roles and they provide a fine performance.

This is a rare play that is unique in its presentation but powerful in its delivery and its message.  Do not miss it.

for tickets and information >>https://www.westportplayhouse.org/mlimastale

Westport Country Playhouse

25 Powers Court

Westport Ct     (203) 227-4177

like I on the Valley on Facebook   http://www.facebook.com/ionthevalley

Instagram>>  join our over 12000 followers at i_on_the_vall

 

Arezzo Ristorante: fine waterfront Italian dining in Westport

arezzo 18

If you want a Tuscany inspired dining experience then you must try Arezzo Ristorante in Westport Connecticut.  The restaurant is set alongside the Saugatuck River  with gorgeous waterfront views.  Diners can choose to eat inside in the covered sun deck, or on the open air patio complete with umbrellas and an outdoor bar.

There is a newly renovated interior with stone archways, stucco walls and charming dark wood beams.  The bar inside is also inviting with dark leather accents and rich wood details.

arezzo 1

Fun and innovative cocktails

 

The menu has quite a selection with dishes finished in the high heat of the wood burning oven.  There are delicious homemade pastas, unique pizza selections and fresh fish, chicken and meat dishes from which to choose.  For the salad lover there are many choices from seasonal produce and fun creations such as roasted beets, pistachios and shaved artichokes.

Irene Phone 235

Pasta Tasting:  Orecchettie with sausage, Gnocchi, and Seafood Risotto

 

 

Entree selections include dishes for all tastes such as Filet Mignon, Melanzane al forno (Eggplant), various chicken and veal dishes, as well as seafood delights such as Branzino, Fisherman’s Stew (scallops, shrimp, and calamari in a tomato broth with fennel) and more.

arezzo 8

Halibut aqua pazza with clams, mussels in a cherry tomato broth

There is also an delightful selection of desserts including fruit tarts, brulees , tiramisu and gelato.

arezzo 9

Tiramisu

The view from the outdoor patio is fantastic and the overall ambiance is perfect for dining al fresco on a warm summer evening.   For a real Italian restaurant experience,  check out Arezzo Ristorante in downtown Westport.  Delicioso!

Arezzo Ristorante/Bar

5 Riverside Ave  Westport Ct      203-557-9375

http://www.arezzowestport.com

like on Facebook     http://www.facebook.com/ionthevalley

instagram: I_ON_THE_VALLEY