Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pullins 'Crossing' finish line with 'new' play

"Ice's Crossing": If the name seems familiar, that's because the play has already been around the production-process block over the past year or so, from the cold readings at various stages of development, at Writers and Actors Ink and at various table readings, to a test run at the North Shore Readers Theatre Collaborative, where it had a rehearsed reading — and its first critical response. So, is it fair to say that the new show by Newburyport playwright Ron Pullins, which will launch the Actors Studio's new Stage Three Workshop is, well, actually a new play?

He says yes: It is a new — and stronger— story, thanks to the long creative process. "It's changed quite a bit over the years," says Pullins, owner of Focus Publishing and author of "The Boss is Dead," a play that became a novel, and plays like "Enemy of the State" and Fringe Festival audience favorite "Movie Mogul," which he wrote with his wife, Leslie Powell. "I think it's a much better play now. It's more of a finished play now."

More of a finished play, not a finished play?

"I think I'm done with it," he says. "Hopefully I am, but you never really know until you see it up on stage, when the actors act and the director directs. You learn a lot about a play after the actors get a hold of them. They understand as much about it as I do, or more, when they get past their lines and have the play 'in their bodies,' as Marc puts it," he says, referring to Actors Studio owner Marc Clopton. "It's been a fascinating process."

Set in the Flint Hills part of Kansas, where Pullins grew up, "Ice's Crossing" focuses on a family in transition: The matriarch is nearing death and, no longer able to take care of herself, has to be moved into assisted living. Her family — two sons and their wives — are at loggerheads over her care. Not exactly a happy play, but one that resonates and generates conversations because it hits so close to home. "In a way it's affirming," he says. "It's about the process of letting go. It surprises me how many people who have heard it, or read from it, express how much they see of some of their own experiences in it – the passing of a relative, the struggle that sometimes ensues between family."

The show will be directed by Marc Clopton, assisted by Suzy Goodspeed and Leslie Powell. It will feature performances by Terry Blanchard, Teresa Donohoe, Tim Hiltabiddle, Mary Shapiro, Tom Kenison, Susan Hern and Sherry Bonder.

JUST THE FACTS, MAN: The Actors Studio will stage Ron Pullin's "Ice's Crossing" at Oct. 22 to 31. Shows are 7 p.m. Thursday and Sunday, 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $15, $12 for students and seniors. Reservations are recommended. Call 978.465.1229. The Actors Studio is located in Mill #1, Suite 5, at Federal and Water streets. For more information about the play, click here.

1 comment:

  1. God save me, they are never finished, but like the calculus, they get teasingly closer and closer.