‘Hold a mirror up to nature’: Theater By the Book returns Wednesday with ‘Outside Mullingar’ | TheUnion.com

‘Hold a mirror up to nature’: Theater By the Book returns Wednesday with ‘Outside Mullingar’

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T.E. Wolfe, Robert Rossman, Mary Baird and Lois Masten are the cast for the Theater by the Book play reading of “Outside Mullingar” directed by Sands Hall on Wednesday at the Miners Foundry.
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WHO: Sierra Stages and Miners Foundry Cultural Center present Theater By the Book: “Outside Mullingar”

WHEN: Wednesday. Doors 7 p.m., Show 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Miners Foundry Cultural Center, 325 Spring Street, Nevada City

TICKETS: $10 Suggested Donation, Tickets are available online at www.minersfoundry.org, by phone 530-265-5040 or in person at the Miners Foundry, or at the door

INFO: www.minersfoundry.org

On Wednesday, Theater By the Book returns with the deeply moving (and funny) love story “Outside Mullingar” — a compassionate, delightful play about how it’s never too late to take a chance on love.

Written by John Patrick Shanley and directed by Sands Hall, “Outside Mullingar” is about two elderly neighbors, Anthony who has spent his entire life on a cattle farm in rural Ireland, a state of affairs that — due to his painful shyness — suits him well. And Rosemary who lives right next door, determined to have him, watching the years slip away. With Anthony’s father threatening to disinherit him and a land feud simmering between their families, Rosemary has every reason to fear romantic catastrophe. But then, in this very Irish story with a surprising depth of poetic passion, these yearning, eccentric souls fight their way towards solid ground and some kind of happiness. 

“I have been lucky enough to direct a number of plays for Theater By the Book. I generally choose them because their subject matter intrigues me, and I think that they will engage an audience,” explains Hall. “Some directors offer more of a ‘staged’ reading — incorporating blocking and props and even a bit of a set — but I enjoy the challenge of simply using brilliant scripts, on music stands, performed by terrific actors — and of course an audience. So much can be achieved with that simplicity.” 

Co-presented by Sierra Stages and the Miners Foundry, Theater By the Book is a series of informal play readings for the community. Now in its eighth season, Theater By the Book is an opportunity for local theatre artists and audiences to enjoy material that would otherwise be unavailable. The beauty of the reading format is that it offers the text — the playwright’s words — but without making the demands that is routinely necessary for a full production. All that is needed for a reading is a director, a cast of actors whose rehearsal commitment is quite brief, and the audience’s imagination.

Starring in “Outside Mullingar” are Robert Rossman, Mary Baird, Lois Masten and T.E. Wolfe.

“I deeply appreciate what Sierra Stages sets out to accomplish with Theater By the Book. In the first place, it provides a cherished opportunity for the theater-loving community to gather, talk, and see — or, in this case, largely listen to — a play,” says Hall. “As Shakespeare says of theatre, its purpose is to ‘hold a mirror up to nature,’ meaning, largely, human nature. Theater By the Book pulls together a group of people to laugh, sigh, applaud as they see aspects of their own lives, or the lives they might have led (or the ones they are glad they are not leading). In the process, the evening offers what theatre itself offers: an opportunity to connect in a shared space.” 

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