June 23, 2018
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Ten Bucks Theatre, Winterport Open Stage offer laughs and drama in equal doses

A scene from Ten Bucks Theatre's "Time Stands Still," featuring Ron Lisnet (from left), Doug Meswarb, Moira Beale and Kathryn Ravenscraft.
By Emily Burnham, BDN Staff

One of the wonderful things about live theater is that it can provoke the full range of human emotions in audience members. Unhinged laughter, like you might experience at Winterport Open Stage’s production of the female version of “The Odd Couple,” or the thoughtful contemplation of “Time Stands Still,” which Ten Bucks Theatre Company opens this weekend.

“Time Stands Still” was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Donald Margulies, and premiered on Broadway in 2009. It was directed by Randy Hunt, in his second directorial effort for the Brewer-based theater company. Their fall show is always a drama, and most often a contemporary play with a small cast.

“Time Stands Still” tells the story of photojournalist Sarah, played by Kathryn Ravenscraft, who has returned home from Iraq after being injured by a roadside bomb. Sarah’s boyfriend, James (Doug Meswarb), having witnessed a traumatic event of his own, tries to take care of both of them. Their friends, the couple Richard and Mandy (Ron Lisnet and Moira Beale), help them consider their own relationship and their future together.

“To me, good theater is all about eliciting an emotional response from the audience … as a director I tend to be drawn more toward a good drama,” said Hunt, who last directed “Rabbit Hole” for Ten Bucks. “I think it’s not only a good dramatic piece, but also a play with which audiences will connect with the emotions of the characters. This play is all about relationships, and how they can change drastically from things that are sometimes not in our control.”

“Time Stands Still” is set for 7 p.m. Nov. 7, 8-9, and 14-16 and 2 p.m. Nov. 10 and 17, at Comins Hall in Eddington, located on Route 9. Tickets are, as the name suggests, $10, and are available at the door. The show is suitable for mature audiences.

Meanwhile, Winterport Open Stage is currently in its second weekend of the female version of “The Odd Couple,” a gender-swapped take on the beloved Neil Simon play. The play was chosen by audience vote back in the spring, when the community theater group celebrated its 20th anniversary.

The play was completely rewritten in 1985 by Simon, to feature Olive Madison and Florence Unger instead of Oscar and Felix, played here by Collette Pusczan Sabbagh and Jenny Hart, respectively. Their character types remain the same — Olive is a slob while Felix is a neatnik — but everything else is different, right down to their playing Trivial Pursuit instead of poker.

Director Brienne Beck — herself a veteran of area theater who has appeared in productions both at WOS and at Penobscot Theatre — finds directing funny women is a joy and a challenge.

“I find it empowering, to have so many talented women in the area and being a part of that myself,” said Beck. “I love seeing it live and I love being around them. We really have very few men that audition, though we do have two men in this production. We’re very lucky that our audience wants to see these very funny women onstage.”

“The Odd Couple” continues in its second weekend at Wagner Middle School in Winterport, with performances at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 8-9, and 3 p.m. Nov. 10. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors.

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