Thursday, April 20, 2017

Welch poet on fire at Actors Studio.

photo courtesy of
Welch poet Peter Thabit Jones at Big Sur, California, where "The Fire in the Wood," his verse drama about the sculptor Edmund Kara takes place. The play opens May 9 at The Actors Studio of Newburyport. 
Written by Welsh poet Peter Thabit Jones, “The Fire in the Wood” explores the life and legacy of the great sculptor Edmund Kara. In both verse and prose, the characters recount the important life moments and character of this enigmatic artist, who designed wardrobe and costumes for both Universal and Paramount studios — for such greats as Lena Horne and Peggy Lee — before he retreated to his coastal studio in Big Sur, California, where he immersed himself in sculpting wood.

The story, a verse drama that opens May 9 at The Actors Studio of Newburyport, takes place after Kara’s death. In the early minutes, a surviving friend of the sculptor notes that his home studio, where his vitality flourished, is slowly decaying and sliding down the cliff into the sea. She sees it as consistent with his Zen way of life — in rhythm with nature.

In the precious days before the house is gone for good, Kara’s ghost, the main character of the play, returns to assess his life and legacy.  In a way, he’s analyzing his own bones. He remembers fondly the sanctuary of the place he built for himself to create in and the sensuality of his craft — carving wood. He acknowledges the myriad forms of fertile nature that had surrounded him in life.

By his own account, Kara’s art was about self-discovery.  The characters in the play — his longtime friend and Big Sur neighbor, two poets, his ghost and his younger self — contribute to a simultaneously frank-yet-poetic assessment of the life Kara led.


WHAT:            Peter Thabit Jones’ “The Fire in the Wood.”
WHERE:          The Actors Studio of Newburyport
                        50 Water Street, Mill #1, Suite #5
                        Newburyport, MA  01950
WHEN:           8 p.m., Tuesday, May 9, and Friday and Saturday, May 12-13
                        5 p.m., Sunday, May 14

TICKETS:        Adults: $10 Tuesday, $18 or $15 for student and seniors Friday and Saturday

RESERVATIONS: 978-465-1229, or online at

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The ultimate three-hour tour

Never mind why a millionaire would be on a cheesy commercial cruise instead of enjoying his servant-staffed yacht or why the Professor, our generation's MacGyver, able to solve impossible problems with ordinary, everyday objects, and, of course, his ever-present Swiss Army knife, couldn't figure out how to get the castaways off that island. 

Just make sure to round up your friends for what promises to be the summer’s ultimate “three-hour tour” — The Gilligan’s Island Costume Fundraiser Cruise, a fundraiser for The Actors Studio of Newburyport. No worries about the weather getting rough and a tiny ship being tossed on this this July 14 cruise. Although it is a rain-or-shine event, the S.S. Minnow has been upgraded to the 106-foot, 3,600 horsepower Captain’s Lady III, with state-of-the-art electronics, life-saving equipment and cruising speed of 20 knots, as well as seating for 100 people. 

Expect hors d’oeuvres, dancing with DJ Shelly Cullen spinning tunes and the bonus of feeling good about supporting The Actors Studio of Newburyport.  Come dressed as one of the characters: Gilligan, The Skipper, Mary Ann, Ginger, The Professor and, last but not least, The Millionaire and Her Husband! (Didn’t see that coming, did you? But Natalie Schafer, the actress who played Mrs. Thurston Howell III, or “Lovey,” as she was known, was indeed a millionaire!) By the way, if you’re too young to have seen the “Gilligan’s Island” TV show, Google it! Cross-dressing encouraged. 


We’re theater people. What did you expect?

Your support makes it possible for The Actors Studio of Newburyport, a registered nonprofit, to continue its stellar programing of established plays, new original works, readers theater, acting workshops, musical performances, story slams, films, and all the other events you love. 

And thanks for helping to keep local arts alive!

What: The Gilligan’s Island Costume Fundraiser Cruise
Where: Newburyport Waterfront
When: Friday, July 14. Arrive by 6:30 p.m. We cast off promptly at 7 p.m. Don’t miss the boat! Cruise departs rain or shine!
Admission: $35 by June 1, $40 after June 1 gets you on the boat, includes hors d’oeuvres, dancing and some good feelings about supporting The Actors Studio of Newburyport. Advance purchase required. There will be a cash bar, and DJ Shelly Cullen will have you on the dance deck all night long! All proceeds to benefit The Actors Studio of Newburyport.
Info: 978-465-1229, or online at