Quest Theaterworks benefit offers rare glimpse of unpublished work

Lois and Scott Ewing of Quest Theaterworks are billing their new venture as a rare opportunity to get dressed up and go out.

The Meade Affair, two one-act shows coupled with dinner, is the community theater company’s foray into fundraising, and not surprisingly, they have found a way to add a dramatic twist to the event.

Last year, the Ewings switched their focus from Ewing Ventures, a for-profit theater group producing what they called “thinkers” or “transformative” theater (such as their 2012 production of “Next to Normal” that tackled issues around mental illness), to a nonprofit company. The move to nonprofit status, and a smaller venue, afforded the freedom to continue producing the type of theater about which they are passionate — producing scripts that spotlight society’s issues and get people engaged in meaningful conversation.

So far in its inaugural 2013 season, Quest has found success with its new venue and smaller-scale productions. To support its ongoing efforts, Quest Theaterworks will host the Meade Affair during the last three weekends in September.

True to the mission, both one-act plays in the Meade Affair are “intense drama,” and the Ewings promise those who love theater will not be disappointed.

Patrons will be treated to dinner by JimE’s Catering and two “meaty” one-act plays. The opening act, “Thom Paine,” will feature local actor Paul Micsan. The one-man play, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, is often referred to as existential stand-up. Following an extended intermission with drinks and dessert, the audience will return for the second play — which they aren’t able to name. The unpublished work by an award-winning playwright is set to premiere on the national scene next year. The playwright gave Quest permission to produce a limited run in September without publication of title or author name.

But it was a work that local theater expert John Deaderick felt so strongly about, Scott Ewing agreed to produce it without even reading the script, he said.

“This is for the crowd who loves theater in its barest essence,” Lois Ewing said.

Deaderick agreed to perform in the piece as well as direct, if joined by Lois Ewing and Trish Adair. Scott Ewing and Paul Miscan round out the cast — put the first letter of their surnames together and you get the M.E.A.D.E. Affair.

“My first read of the play left me breathless,” Deaderick wrote of the work in his director’s notes. “The way in which it reveals itself layer by layer, the uncompromising truths that it depicts, the masterful use of silence — these struck me in the gut and left me with a single thought: I must direct this play.

“I am not unfamiliar with the potential for intensity that a parent/teacher confrontation can have; though fortunately, I’ve never experienced anything quite like this one. The work requires two actresses of extraordinary emotional honesty and technical brilliance; I am so fortunate to have them in this production.”

The Ewings said they feel so strongly about this work that they have already approached the playwright to bring it to the largest theater gathering in the world — Edinburgh Theatre Festival.

“It’s really unique that such a small market gets this type of show,” Lois said. “It’s really special that we get it.”

Those involved with the show are certain it will win a Pulitzer when officially published, according to Quest.

Altogether, there will be only six Meade Affair shows offered, with a limit of 40 people per show in attendance. Prices range per show, from $35 for hot dog nights, up to $150 for the gala event with a gourmet dinner and open wine bar.

Shows are Friday and Saturday evenings from Sept. 14 through Sept. 28.

For information, or to purchase tickets, go to http://questtheaterworks.com/.

Features Editor Brett Bentley can be contacted at bbentley@theunion.com.


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The Union Updated Aug 29, 2013 12:50PM Published Aug 29, 2013 12:50PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.