Theater at The Towers -- 01/12/03

Nancy and I went to see a pair of one act plays last night at The Towers in Narragansett.

In the Victorian era Narragansett was a popular upper income bracket summer resort destination. A century ago a fire destroyed all of the largest resort hotel casino, all except the stone-built wing that straddled the road. It has been restored and is a popular site for weddings, dances, concerts, etc. and has become an icon for the town.
The third floor ballroom area -- arching over the road -- served as the seating area for the audience while the performance was in the left hand tower.

The plays were written by t.f. maguire, a local playwright and musician. He has had several plays produced, some off-Broadway in New York City (including one of last night's plays) and has won various prizes and awards. Tall and lean, a strong Irish look, white hair and white beard, dressed in black turtle-neck and black trousers, he looks the part of a playwright/musician.

The first play -- "Stickball" -- is set in a playground in a bluecollar neighborhood in Providence where two childhood friends, now fifty years old, meet to exchange barbs, complaints and memories, and to play a game of stickball. One had gone out of the neighborhood, gone to college, become a successful journalist in Chicago, the other had never left, still living in the neighborhood. It's an interesting play and the pair of actors did a fine job, especially Bruce Page who played "Moon," the one who had stayed behind (I understand that he had played the same role when this play was produced off-Broadway). The second play -- "Two on the Isle" -- about two actors who discover that there are only two people in the audience and invite that couple to take their roles in the play (I believe the spelling is deliberate -- they have tickets for aisle seats, but it is also about coming into Manhatten Island from Westchester... and the play-within-the-play is about a man and a woman meeting on one of those tourist dinner trains, probably based on the one in Newport, RI, which is, of course, on an island). Another good cast, with Bruce Page again doing an excellent job... the play itself, however, did not hold together for me... individual pieces of it were quite interesting, but it didn't seem to make a coherent whole the way the first play did. I was going to say that it didn't seem to go anywhere, but actually I think it went a lot of places, it just didn't seem to end up anywhere.

Maguire is an interesting and talented writer; based on these two one act plays I would be quite eager to see some of his other works performed. I'm also curious about his music -- from descriptions, it would seem as if he is into traditional Irish music -- I understand that he has a CD that is supposed to be available locally and I think I'll look around for it.

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