2009 Season

by Neil Simon
Directed by Melissa Gilpin

Fridays and Saturdays — May 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23 at 8:00 PM

This Broadway hit is a composite of Neil Simon and Anton Chekhov. In one sketch a harridan storms a bank and upbraids the manager for his gout and lack of money. In another, a father takes his son to a house where he will be initiated into the mysteries of sex, only to relent at the last moment and leave the boy more perplexed than ever. In another sketch, a crafty seducer goes to work on a wedded woman, only to realize that the woman has been in command from the first overture. Let us not forget the classic tale of a man who offers to drown himself for three rubles. The stories are droll, the portraits affectionate, the humor infectious and the fun unending.

Two male and three female roles.

“A great deal of warmth and humor in his retelling of these Chekhovian tales.” — Newhouse Newspapers
“There is much fun here. . . . Mr. Simon’s comic fancy is admirable.” — N.Y. Times

by Stephen Adly Guirgis
Directed by David M. Thomas

Fridays and Saturdays — August 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, and 22 at 8:00 PM

Characters and Cast
Mary Jane Hanrahan: Melissa Gilpin
D’Amico: Randy Sena
Lucius Jenkins: Jivon Lee Jackson
Angel Cruz: Alex Lopez
Valdez: Brian Donohue

Angel Cruz is a thirty-year-old bike messenger from NYC who has lost his best friend to a religious cult. At the opening of the play, he is in his second night of incarceration, awaiting trial for shooting the leader of that cult in the “ass.” He is on his knees, alone and terrified, trying to say a prayer he no longer remembers to a God he has all but forgotten. Angel’s public defender is Mary Jane Hanrahan, still relatively young but very nearly disillusioned. At their first meeting, she mistakes Angel for another case. Wounded by her pride and Angel’s sharp attacks, she mangles this initial interview and walks out.

A crisis of conscience and an unresolved connection to her childhood brings her back, and Angel’s heartfelt, persuasive arguments against the cult leader persuade her to champion his cause. By this time, the cult leader, Reverend Kim, has died on the operating table, and the charge against Angel is now murder. Angel has been beaten regularly by other inmates and is discovered in his cell barely conscious with a bed sheet tied around his neck. He is transferred to a special twenty-three-hour lockdown wing of protective custody. His jailer is Valdez, a brutally direct prison guard who believes in a world of black and white only. No gray areas permitted.

Valdez has taken the post of Charlie D’amico, a guard Angel never meets. For one hour a day, Angel experiences daylight from a cage on the Riker’s Island Prison roof. His only source of human contact is the lone inmate who is also in protective custody. Lucius Jenkins, a.k.a. “the Black Plague,” works out furiously in the cage next to Angel. A sociopathic serial killer awaiting extradition to Florida, Lucius pauses from his workouts only to chain smoke and to “save” Angel. Lucius Jenkins has found God, and Angel’s life and the course of his trial will be changed forever.

by Neil LaBute
Directed by Craig Hower

October 8, 10, 15, 16, 22, 23 and 24 at 8:00 PM
Note: Additional performance on 10/8.
TALK BACK/PREVIEW: Oct. 9, 17 (we will only run 2/3 of the show on these nights)

Kristen Page-Kirby
Michael Mortensen
Michael Margelos
Mel Gilpin

Bash is a collection of three darkly humorous one act plays written by Neil LaBute. Each play features seemingly harmless, good hearted, everyday people who nevertheless find themselves in very, very bad situations.

Press Release
Getting It Right
Hard Bargain Players cast sets out to understand better the roles they will be playing…
September 16, 2009, Accokeek, Maryland – The Hard Bargain Players have set out to perform Neil LaBute’s highly controversial play bash, latter-day plays. Director Craig Hower is not interested in leaving any stone unturned in getting it right. So on Wednesday night, in the amphitheater in the woods, Hower and his cast sat down with an inactive member of the Church of Latter-Day Saints to get all their facts straight.

“When I first approached the text, I wasn’t sure the fact that all of the characters being Mormon really had all that big of an influence on the outcome,” Hower said. “But the deeper we got in to it we began to realize that there had to be a foundation for some of this decision making and it had to be the Church. LaBute has left very little to chance. Every word and action has been chosen very carefully. So we have to do the same.”

Bash is a series of one act plays centering around four basically good people who find themselves in situations where they have done very bad things. Originally staged in New York in 1999, the play has been presented in venues around the world, but rarely in the D.C. area. Hower has tried to get it produced in Southern Maryland multiple times over the last several years with no success. “I’m not sure why people get so nervous around it [the play]. It’s great theatre and an incredible opportunity for an actor to stretch himself.” For the stretch, Hower has assembled some of the most talented actors in the region. In the first piece, A Gaggle of Saints, Kristen Page-Kirby and Michael Mortensen tell the story of a young couple taking a weekend off from college to go to a black tie party in New York City. The second piece, Ipheginia in Orem, features Michael Margelos telling his story as a traveling salesman to an unseen woman in his hotel room. The third piece, Medea Redux, has Mel Gilpin pouring out the details of her characters romance with her junior high teacher. “It truly is a love story,” Gilpin says.

To better understand what Hower called “the foundation of character,” the group met with Holly Bednar for an evening to tell her their stories and get a better understanding of how a religious upbringing in the Mormon Church would help form the characters that they were portraying. “I saw a lot of light bulbs go on,” Hower says. “It was time very well spent.” Bednar attended BYU in Utah in the mid 80’s, around the time the plays are set, and was married to a Mormon for several years. “She was very much a part of that church community. Holly’s insight on this was invaluable,” Hower stated. “We needed that perspective that lapsed Catholics, out of practice Protestants and a Jewish girl just didn’t have on their own.”

“Our goal is not to offend anyone but to do the play the justice that it deserves. We can’t do that without better understanding the mind set that we’re dealing with here. I think this is going to be amazing but it needed that extra research that you don’t find laying around just anywhere.”

Bash opens at the Hard Bargain Amphitheater on Bryan Point Road in Accokeek, Maryland, on Thursday October 8 at 8 PM. It will run Friday and Saturday nights through October 24.

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