Absurd Person Singular
January 10, 2015 - February 1, 2015
By Alan Ayckbourn
Directed by Jessica Stone
Joan and Robert Rechnitz Theater
“Laughing yourself silly is reason enough to see “Absurd Person Singular.” - Two River Times
“a thoroughly entertaining theatrical event”- Broadwayworld.com
A laugh-out-loud, satirical look at how three English couples deal with their relationships, social standings, and the pressures of three successive Christmas gatherings. During the Broadway run, statisticians counted 504 chuckles, roll-em in the aisles, and belly laughs!
Don't miss this perfect opportunity to unwind from the holiday madness!
Cast: Brooks Ashmanskas, Mary Birdsong, Michael Cumpsty, Scott Drummond,
Melissa van der Schyff & Liz Wisan.
- Sir Alan Ayckbourn is an Olivier, Tony, and Molière Award-winning playwright who has written 78 full-length plays.
- Absurd Person Singular (number 12) is considered one of his greatest works; it holds the record for the single longest run of an Ayckbourn play in both the West End and on Broadway.
- Director Jessica Stone has worked as an actor on Broadway alongside Sutton Foster in Anything Goes and Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick in The Odd Couple.
Approximate Running Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes (including two intermissions)
Brooks Ashmanskas (Sidney) Broadway: Bullets Over Broadway (Susan Stroman, dir. - also CD); Promises, Promises (Rob Ashford, dir. - CD); Present Laughter (Nicholas Martin, dir.); The Ritz (Joe Mantello, dir.); Martin Short: Fame Becomes Me (Scott Wittman, dir. - CD; Tony and Drama Desk nominations); The Producers (Susan Stroman, dir.); Gypsy (Sam Mendes, dir. - CD); Little Me (Rob Marshall, dir. - CD); Dream (Wayne Cilento, dir.); How To Succeed… (Des McAnuff, dir.); and On the Twentieth Century (Peter Flynn, dir. - Actors Fund Benefit). Off-Broadway: Wise Guys (NYTW; Sam Mendes, dir.), On a Clear Day… (Encores; Mark Brokaw, dir.), London Suite (Union Square; Daniel Sullivan, dir.), Labor Day (MTC; Jack O’Brien, dir.), Songs for a New World (WPA; Daisy Prince, dir. - CD), It Changes Every Year (Malaparte; Nicholas Martin, dir.), Fit to Be Tied (Playwrights Horizons; David Warren, dir.), and, as choreographer, The New Century (Lincoln Center), Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them (Public) and The Understudy (Roundabout). Regional: Ford's, Mark Taper, A.C.T., Huntington, McCarter, Hangar, Hartford, Williamstown, Kennedy Center, Old Globe, Arena, Boston Playwrights, Portland Center for the Performing Arts. Tours: Cinderella, Noises Off. Film: Julie and Julia (Nora Ephron, dir.). TV: The Good Wife. B.A. from Bennington College.
Mary Birdsong (Marion) most recently appeared on the small screen as a boozy, slutty, racist, turn-of-the-century Irish immigrant grandmother with Clive Owen in Cinemax’s new series The Knick (directed by Steven Soderbergh). On the big screen, she appeared opposite George Clooney in Alexander Payne’s Academy Award-winning film The Descendants. And right now? She’s somewhere in this theater trying not to laugh at whatever Brooks Ashmanskas is doing. Any questions? marybirdsong.com.
Michael Cumpsty (Ronald) has directed Third and appeared in Present Laughter and Much Ado about Nothing at Two River Theater. On Broadway he has appeared in Machinal, The Winslow Boy, End of the Rainbow (Tony nomination) Sunday in the Park with George, The Constant Wife, Democracy, Enchanted April, 42nd Street, Copenhagen, Electra, 1776, Racing Demon, The Heiress, Translations, Timon of Athens (Bayfield Award), La Bete and Artist Descending a Staircase. His Off-Broadway credits include Hamlet (OBIE Award), Richard II and Richard III (all for Classic Stage Company); Twelfth Night, Timon of Athens, All’s Well That Ends Well, Hamlet, Cymbeline and The Winter’s Tale (all for the New York Shakespeare Festival); The Art of Success, Man and Superman. He has appeared in many of America’s premiere regional theatres. He played Leontes in The Winter’s Tale for the Royal Shakespeare Company at their home in Stratford-upon-Avon. Michael was a series regular on L.A. Law, and has played recurring roles on Star Trek: Voyager, Nurse Jackie and Boardwalk Empire. His film credits include Eat Pray Love, Wall Street 2, Starting Out in the Evening, The Ex, Flags of our Fathers, The Visitor, The Ice Storm, Fatal Instinct, State of Grace, Downtown Express and Burning Blue. Michael teaches privately, has been a guest teacher in the graduate acting programs at both NYU and Columbia universities, and taught for many years at the New York Shakespeare Festival. His directing credits include Shakespeare's Richard lll and Richard ll, W.H. Auden's For the Time Being, and The Bespoke Overcoat by Wolf Mankowitz.
Scott Drummond (Geoffrey) is thrilled to make his debut at Two River. Broadway: Machinal. Off Broadway: A Perfect Future (Cherry Lane), Hamlet (TFANA). Other New York: Roundabout, The New Group, New York Theatre Workshop, The Play Company. Regional: Arena Stage (Other Desert Cities, Well), George Street Playhouse (One Slight Hitch, Twelve Angry Men), South Coast Rep (Pride and Prejudice), La Jolla Playhouse (Mother Courage), Barrington Stage (An Enemy of the People), Williamstown, The O’Neill (5 seasons). Film: Sisters (upcoming, dir. Jason Moore), Not Fade Away (dir. David Chase). Television: Unforgettable (CBS), Boardwalk Empire (HBO), Black Jack (pilot, Comedy Central), All My Children. Training: M.F.A., UCSD/La Jolla Playhouse; B.F.A., SMU.
Melissa van der Schyff
Melissa van der Schyff (Jane) is thrilled to be making her Two River Theater debut. Broadway: Originated the role of Blanche Barrow in Bonnie & Clyde (Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical); Mary Jane in the Tony- nominated Deaf West/Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of Big River (2004 Tony Honor for Excellence in Theatre awarded to the cast). Regional highlights: Lina Lamont in Singin' in the Rain (Jeff Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, Drury Lane Theatre, Chicago); Blanche in Bonnie & Clyde (La Jolla Playhouse & Asolo Theatre, San Diego Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Featured Actress); Catherine in Pippin (Deaf West/Center Theatre Group); Virginia/Clara in An Italian Straw Hat (South Coast Rep); Yelenka in Zhivago (La Jolla Playhouse); Big River (Deaf West, Mark Taper Forum & National Tour); Ginny in Post Office by Michael J. Friedman (Kirk Douglas Theatre, L.A.); Kayla in Ballad (Ovation Nomination, L.A.). TV and film include: The Good Wife, The Muppets, National Lampoon’s Lemmings (Sketch writer and series regular), A Lot Like Love, Nickelodeon’s Wallykazam! As a vocalist, Melissa has performed at venues in NYC such as 54 Below, Birdland Jazz Club and Radio City Music Hall. @MelissavdSchyff
Liz Wisan (Eva) is thrilled to be making her Two River Theater debut working with this incredible company. New York credits include Other Desert Cities (u/s role of Brooke, Broadway and LCT), The Tempest (La MaMa), Bill W. & Dr. Bob (Soho Playhouse), Billy Witch (Astoria Performing Arts Center), Miss Lily Gets Boned, My Base and Scurvy Heart, and The Sporting Life (Studio 42, Resident Artist). Regional credits include Tony Kushner’s Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide… (Berkeley Rep), These Paper Bullets! (Yale Rep), The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare Theatre Company), Hannah (Premiere Stages), The Winter’s Tale (Chautauqua Theater Company), Anything Goes, Twelfth Night, and Cloud Tectonics (Williamstown Theatre Festival). From 2010-2013, Liz performed in Chris Bayes’ stellar production of The Servant of Two Masters at Yale Rep, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Guthrie Theater, Seattle Rep, and ArtsEmerson. Television and film credits include Elementary, Ready or Knot, and Bitches (short). Liz performs long-form and musical improv and stand-up comedy in NYC. She co-wrote and performed two shows at Upright Citizens Brigade, The Goods Are Odd, and Seriously Extremely Important. MFA, Yale School of Drama.
Alan Ayckbourn (Playwright) 2014 marked Sir Alan Ayckbourn’s 53rd year as a theatre director and his 55th as a playwright. He has spent his life in theatre, rarely if ever tempted by television or film, which perhaps explains why he continues to be so prolific. To date he has written 78 plays and his work has been translated into over 35 languages, is performed on stage and television throughout the world and has won countless awards. Major successes include: Relatively Speaking, How the Other Half Loves, Absurd Person Singular, Bedroom Farce, A Chorus of Disapproval and The Norman Conquests. In the past four years, there have been revivals of Season's Greetings and A Small Family Business at the National Theatre and in the West End productions of Absent Friends, A Chorus of Disapproval and Relatively Speaking. 2014 marked the 50th anniversary of his first West End production, Mr Whatnot. In 2009, he retired as artistic director of the Stephen Joseph, where almost all his plays have been and continue to be first staged. Holding the post for 37 years, he still feels that perhaps his greatest achievement was the establishment of this company’s first permanent home when the two auditoria complex fashioned from a former Odeon Cinema opened in 1996. In recent years, he has been inducted into American Theatre’s Hall of Fame, received the 2010 Critics’ Circle Award for Services to the Arts and became the first British playwright to receive both Olivier and Tony Special Lifetime Achievement Awards. He was knighted in 1997 for services to the theatre. (Source: Alan Ayckbourn’s official website www.alanayckbourn.net.)
Jessica Stone (Director) has worked as an actress on and off-Broadway, in television and film, for the last 20 years. Her Broadway credits include Anything Goes with Sutton Foster, Butley with Nathan Lane, The Odd Couple with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, The Smell of the Kill with Claudia Shear, Design for Living with Alan Cumming and Dominic West, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying with John Stamos, and Grease with Rosie O’Donnell. Her Off-Broadway credits include Crimes of the Heart (directed by Kathleen Turner), Krisit, The Country Club, June Moon, Tenderloin, and Babes in Arms. She has performed in regional theaters across the country including Huntington Theatre Company, Mark Taper Forum, Geva Theatre, McCarter Theatre Center, and eight seasons at Williamstown Theatre Festival. Her favorite productions include She Stoops to Conquer, She Loves Me, Springtime for Henry, Betty’s Summer Vacation, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Cherry Orchard. Concurrently, she was an assistant/associate director on and Off Broadway to Nicholas Martin, Joe Mantello, David Warren, and Christopher Ashley. Jessica’s directing career began in earnest with her 2010 production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum for the Williamstown Theater Festival’s Main Stage which was met with critical acclaim. Directing credits now include Neil Simon’s Last of the Red Hot Lovers (Williamstown), Charlotte’s Web (TheatreWorks), Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike (The Old Globe), and June Moon (Williamstown). Workshops and readings include Huntington Theatre Company’s Breaking Ground series, the Hourglass Theater Group’s Hot Buttons: A Political Vaudeville, and collaborations with artists such as Joy Behar and Claudia Shear. She currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two sons.
Charlie Corcoran (Scenic Designer) Off-Broadway: Billy and Ray (Vineyard Theatre), The Emperor Jones (Hewes Design Award nomination), Port Authority, The Weir, The Freedom of the City, The Banished Children of Eve, Sive, Prisoner of the Crown, Defender of the Faith, The Field (Irish Rep), Craving for Travel (Peter J. Sharp Theatre), Smash (Juilliard), The Last Smoker in America (Westside Theatre), A Perfect Future (Cherry Lane), The Late Christopher Bean (TACT), Sophistry, The Black Monk, The Bully Pulpit (Beckett Theatre), Exits and Entrances (Primary Stages). Regional: Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike (Goodman Theatre 2015), The Barber of Seville, The Marriage of Figaro (McCarter Theatre), The Night Watcher, Without Walls (Center Theatre Group), Fallen Angels (NJ Shakespeare Theatre). Opera: Fidelio (Santa Fe Opera), The Bartered Bride, Cosi Fan Tutte (co-production Metropolitan Opera and Juilliard) Don Giovanni, The Marriage of Figaro (2015) (Juilliard), The Magic Flute (Music Academy of the West). TV: Believe (NBC), Madam Secretary (CBS).
Gabriel Berry (Costume Designer) designs costumes for theater, dance and opera. Specializing in the creation of new work, she has designed premieres of the works of artists including John Adams, David Adjmi, Samuel Beckett, Charles Ludlam, Caryl Churchill, Christopher Durang, Ethyl Eichelberger, Richard Foreman, The Five Lesbian Brothers, Maria Irene Fornes, John Guare, Lameece Issaq, Nick Jones, Craig Lukas, Mabou Mines, Naomi Wallace, Kia Corthron, Will Power, Marcus Gardley, Scott Z. Burns, Meredith Monk, Chuck Mee, Tony Kushner, Peter Sellars, Phillip Glass, Harold Pinter, Reinaldo Povod, Tennessee Williams, and Brandon Jacob Jenkins. Notable honors include OBIE, Bessie and Lucille Lortel awards and a silver medal from the Prague Quadrennial for her contribution to experimental Theater. Upcoming projects include John Adams’ and Peter Sellars’ The Gospel According to the Other Mary for the English National Opera and Stew and Heidi’s The Total Bent for the New York Public Theater.
Rui Rita (Lighting Designer) has designed the Broadway productions of Velocity of Autumn, Trip to Bountiful, Present Laughter, Dividing the Estate, Old Acquaintance, Enchanted April among others. For Two River he has designed Third, Present Laughter, and August Wilson’s Jitney. His Off-Broadway premieres include Just Jim Dale (Roundabout), Happiest Song Plays Last (Second Stage), Horton Foote’s Old Friends & The Orphans’ Home Cycle (Hewes Award, Signature), Nightingale, Moonlight and Magnolias (Manhattan Theatre Club), Big Bill, The Carpetbagger’s Children, Far East (Lincoln Center Theater), The Day Emily Married (Primary Stages), and Dinner with Friends (Variety Arts Center). His Off Broadway revivals include The Piano Lesson (Signature), Talley’s Folly & The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore (Roundabout), and Engaged (Obie Award, Theatre for a New Audience). His regional credits include Alley, Arena Stage, American Conservatory Theater, Center Stage, Ford’s Theatre, Goodman, Hartford Stage, Huntington Theatre Company, the Shakespeare Theatre, Center Theatre Group, Old Globe, Westport Country Playhouse, and Williamstown Theatre Festival.
Drew Levy (Sound Designer) Broadway credits include Honeymoon in Vegas, The Winslow Boy, Chaplin (Drama Desk Award), The Importance of Being Earnest, and Present Laughter. Other New York designs include The Weir at the Irish Repertory Theatre; Why Torture Is Wrong..., and Emergence-See! at the Public Theater; Rainbow Kiss; Rock Doves; Dutchman (AUDELCO Viv nomination); and The Mistakes Madeline Made. Regionally Drew has designed in theatres across the country including the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Huntington Theatre Company, The Old Globe, Arena Stage, 5th Avenue Theatre, McCarter Theatre, Long Wharf, Two River Theater Company, and Westport Country Playhouse. He has associate credits for A Raisin in the Sun, Betrayal, Pippin, Lucky Guy, One Man, Two Guvnors (Tony Award nomination), Rock of Ages, That Championship Season, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Everyday Rapture (Drama Desk Award nomination), Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps (Tony Award), South Pacific, Cymbeline, Happiness, The Apple Tree, The Adding Machine, and the Metropolitan Opera’s 125th Anniversary Gala. He holds an MFA from Boston University.
Ben Furey (Dialect Coach) Ben Furey (Dialect Coach) previously worked at Two River on Present Laughter. Broadway includes: The Last Ship, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Matilda, Billy Elliot, Monty Python’s Spamalot, Side Show, Mamma Mia. National Tours include: All North American productions of Billy Elliot, Monty Python’s Spamalot, West Side Story, The Phantom of the Opera. Off-Broadway includes Appropriate (Signature Theatre); Our New Girl, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Harper Regan, Gabriel, and The New York Idea (Atlantic Theater Company); If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet, The Language Archive, Bad Jews (Roundabout Theatre Company); By the Water, The Explorers Club, That Face (Manhattan Theatre Club). Regional/International includes: Guthrie Theater, Palm Beach Dramaworks, Cincinnati Playhouse, Gate Theatre (Dublin), Dallas Theater Center, and Colorado Shakespeare Festival. Film includes: Treasure Buddies, Eyeborgs, and Pete’s Meteor. TV: Vocal Consultant for the popular PBS wine program, Vine Talk. Teaching includes: University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Old Vic – “New Voices” workshop NYC, Gaiety School of Acting (Dublin), and the Laura Henry Studio, Los Angeles.
Adam Caldwell (Casting) works with Cindy Tolan. Broadway: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Betrayal, Cinderella, The Performers, Lysistrata Jones, Relatively Speaking, That Championship Season, A View from the Bridge, All My Sons, Avenue Q, and Xanadu. Previous productions with Vineyard Theatre, Bay Street, Dallas Theater Center, Playwrights Horizons, The Public Theater, and Lincoln Center Theater. Film: This Is Where I Leave you, The Place Beyond the Pines, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Winter's Tale, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Blue Valentine, Another Happy Day, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Letters to Juliet, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, Starting Out in the Evening, Death of a President, The Darjeeling Limited. Upcoming films: Gods Behaving Badly. Television: Odd Mom Out, Deadbeat, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Flight of the Conchords, Fringe, The Return of Jezebel James, and multiple HBO pilots. Member of CSA.
Production Stage Manager
Libby Unsworth (Production Stage Manager) Broadway: Scandalous; Promises, Promises; 33 Variations; The Country Girl. Off-Broadway: Murder for Two (New World Stages), Anthem (Baryshnikov Arts Center), Bunnicula (DR2), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (CSC), Next Fall (Naked Angels), Jailbait (Cherry Lane), Unconditional (LAByrinth), Speech & Debate, The Overwhelming (Roundabout), Our Leading Lady (MTC). Regional: 5th Avenue, Geffen, Williamstown (8 Seasons), Goodspeed, Goodman, Hangar, Huntington. Touring: Radio City Christmas Spectacular (Arena Tour), The Old Man and the Old Moon (Boston), White Christmas (Boston & Toronto). BFA, Boston University.