is the grass any bluer...

is the grass any bluer...
on the other side?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

May's "Broken" is Ready for Cast in AGL's Second Stage Launch

Actors Guild launches its Second Stage with this orginal work by Lexington playwright Walter May.  When a homeless woman confronts a lonely man on an urban waterfront, the past crashes down on both as they revisit the painful paths that brought them there and look for a reason to hope.

The excitement is building at Actors Guild of Lexington for tomorrow night's opening of Broken, by local playwright Walter May, and nobody could be more enthusiastic than the May himself.  "It is a great thrill to see Broken go up at Actors Guild.  I am indebted to AGL Artistic Director Eric Seale for taking the project on."  

May and Director Sidney Shaw have known each other "for many years.  We last worked together when we both appeared in Art at Actors Guild.  I have the utmost respect for him as a director because of what I have seen of his work on stage."

While Walter has been involved with the page-to-stage production, he wanted to be mindful of the creative process. "I have been to about half of the rehearsals.  I want to see what's going on and help out if the script needs adjusting.  We have changed a few things here and there.  I also wanted to make sure the director and actors didn't feel I was constantly looking over their shoulders."

Walter May and Charles Edward Pogue 
Moonlight and Magnolias at AGL.  
May is standing at the desk as David O Selznick, 
Pogue was playing Ben Hecht.
Prior to Broken, May has worked with both Tom Phillips and Susan Wigglesworth, who play the lead roles, and speaks glowingly of them.  "I have played Tom's father (Polonius in Hamlet) and father figure (Adolph in Last Night of Ballyhoo).  Susan played Lady Macbeth in a production in which I played the drunken porter.  I pursued both of these actors for this production and am delighted they agreed to get involved.  They are doing tremendous work."

He describes Broken as "a story of loss and grief, but it is also a story of hope and promise.  Sidney, Susan and Tom have put it together in a way that I think says something compelling about how we live our lives and how we travel through life together.  If you want to see good acting led by a talented director, you should want to see Broken."

Playwright's notes for the program:

            "The year was 1962.  The album was Live at the Apollo.  The artist was James Brown.  In the recorded introduction Brown was called the hardest working man in show business.  We can now bequeath that title to Eric Seale.  What he has done in the last year and a half to bring Actors Guild back from the brink is phenomenal.  The board, the artists, the backstage and box office folks, the audiences and others have all joined him in making sure that Lexington does not lose this little gem of a theater.

            Actors Guild has provided me a creative space many times over the years, beginning with its production of A Measure of Respect in 1987 and continuing through numerous acting and directing opportunities since then.  That has involved work with a wide variety of talented and committed people.  In various venues around town, audiences have sat in darkened rooms to watch compelling stories that reveal something about the human condition.  If there had been no Actors Guild, those stories would not have been told.  They would not have been seen and heard.

            The characters in Broken know something about living near the brink as well.  To live a life necessarily means to undergo a wide variety of experiences.  Among those experiences are pain and loss, disappointment and misunderstanding.  These are experiences that are difficult to endure.  They can destroy a life.  The challenge we face as human beings is to discover how we can endure those experiences and still find promise in life, to still find hope.  Sometimes it helps to face that challenge with someone by your side.  The year was 1961.  The artist was Ben E. King.  The single was Stand by Me. 

            Many thanks to Liz Bussey Fentress and the many people connected with the Kentucky Voices program at Kentucky Repertory Theatre in Horse Cave .  With their careful readings and critical comments they helped tremendously in the development of this little play.  The public reading by Robert Brock and Donna Freeburn taught me a lot.  Watching Sidney Shaw, Susan Wigglesworth and Tom Phillips bring it to life has taught me even more.  Thanks to all."

Tom Phillips in AGL's Dead Man's Cell Phone

Tom Phillips has worked with Walter May 
both as an actor and director, 
but says, "it's great to do a piece he's written. 
It's a great, touching story, a very human story."

It is Phillips' first time working under 
Sidney Shaw's direction, "but hopefully not the last. 
Walter had talked to me about doing the show, 
but I wasn't sure if I'd be able to. Luckily, I was!"

Tom describes his co-star Susan Wigglesworth
as "the real deal, she invests a lot into the role, 
plus she's a hoot to be around and play with!


Written by Lexington playwright Walter May, "Broken" is directed by Sidney Shaw, and features Susan Wigglesworth and Tom Phillips.

March 24 - April 3
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday shows are at 8pm
Sunday matinees are at 2 pm

$20 for Adults
$15 for Subscribers, Seniors, & Students

visit for tickets 

This show brings some of the best of Lexington's stage talent to the new digs at  AGL - where there's not a bad seat in the house.
Hope to see you at the show!

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