CHRISTOPHER SHINN, PLAYWRIGHT
Weathered clapboard houses of a New England landscape are tempered by the intense winds of a cold winter. They mark the setting of Christopher Shinn's world premiere play "An Opening in Time" and they foreshadow the mind set and temperament of the characters who patrol the paths and lanes of this small town. The Hartford Stage will take this new play, that echoes with the flavors of Connecticut, Shinn's birthplace, and give it a a voice until Sunday, October 11.
One doesn't often get a "do-over," a chance to reconcile and repair incidents from the past but it seems that Anne and Ron are privileged to do just that.Three decades ago the pair leaped from good friends to wannabe lovers when each found they were trapped in a loveless marriage and hatched a plan to run off together.
A well-respected English teacher Anne was on the brink of committing to Ron, the high school drama coach, to seize a chance at true love. The appearance of her six year old son Sam caused the pair to retreat in a panicked moment of indecision. Now thirty years later, Anne has returned to their hometown, since her husband has died, with the hope that the flames of that past ardor can be rekindled. Ron has since divorced and, on the surface, should welcome her reentry into his life.
If all went well, there would be no need for a play, but Anne (Deborah Hedwall) and Ron (Patrick Clear) are still oceans apart even when they sit side by side in the local diner run by Anetta (Kati Brazda). Ron is easily distracted by the fact that the town may do the play "Rent" this year and by his conversations with Frank (Bill Crist), his frequent fellow dining companion.
For her part, Anne has concerns about a next door neighbor teenage boy George (Brandon Smalls) who has issues about his sexual orientation, his foster mother Kim (Molly Camp), Anne's son Sam (Karl Miller) who has had brushes with the law and the local detective (Mike Keller) who comes often to investigate the continued assaults on Anne's house.
With all these problems, could Anne put Ron first on her list of attachments? Will either of them be able to make a lasting commitment to each other today, when they couldn't thirty years before? Who is to blame for their predicament and pain? Oliver Butler explores the issues of trust that plague the pair, on an intricate set designed by Antje Ellerman.
For tickets ($25 and up), call the Hartford Stage, 50 Church Street, Hartford at 860-527-5151 or online at www.hartfordstage.org. Performances are Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and 2 p.m. matinees Saturday and Sunday. Many special events are planned during the run.
Travel this rocky road with Anne and Ron as they try to reconcile the past and overcome the myriad difficulties on the path to true love.