New Local Theater

Now that we’re safely past Labor Day and gaining on the ostensible last day of summer (somewhere around the 21st), theater is coming alive again in New Haven. This coming weekend and the following a new play called The Specials has its run on Whitney Avenue in New Haven.

Written by New Haven playwright Steve Bellwood, The Specials presents a meeting/confrontation between two couples: an academic couple, Tom and Diane, are taking a roadtrip and spatting when their car breaks down. Another couple comes to their assistance: Ivan, an ex-military man, and his wife Ruth, an ex-stripper. Is it the classic comedy of unlikely bedfellows, or is something more harrowing in store? Expect the unpredictable as the couples get to know each other and, one suspects, themselves. According to producer David Pilot, the show is about “healing as much as about confrontation.” The question behind it all is the question of what, if anything, provides social cohesion in our increasingly polarized America.

Pilot is a writer, director and filmmaker, who has taken part in the New York International Fringe Festival and, most recently, his play Hans: A Case Study—from a famous case of Freud’s—was staged at the West End Theatre in New York in 2012. He and playwright Bellwood, a member of Theatre Artists Workshop in Norwalk and a performer around New Haven as a “stand-up storyteller,” have been collaborating on musical monologues. Bellwood encountered director/actor Leaf—who directed a performance of Beckett’s Catastrophe at the Institute Library last year and acted in the New Haven Theater Company’s production of Urinetown—at Never Ending Books, the duo became a trio, and they set about to stage Bellwood’s play. For the production, Pilot has teamed with co-producers Annia Bu, an award-winning actress from Cuba, and Margaret Carl, twenty-five-year veteran of numerous local companies including Elm Shakespeare, the Arts and Ideas Festivals, and other productions with Pilot at the company Jackdaw-Pike.

In addition to Leaf as Tom, the cast includes Mariah Sage (Diane), of the New Haven-based company Theatre 4, Daniel J. White (Ivan), who has acted in Bridgeport and at the Westport Community Theatre, and Irina Kaplan (Ruth), an MFA candidate at the Actors Studio Drama School who has worked at the Manhattan Repertory Theatre and at Classic Stage Company in New York.

The play will be presented at The Whitney Arts Center, 591 Whitney Avenue, New Haven Sat. 9/14 at 8 p.m. Sun. 9/15 at 3 p.m. Fri. 9/20 at 8 p.m. Sat. 9/21 at 8 p.m. Sun. 9/22 at 3 p.m.

$15, suggested donation

A reception, as the culmination of Jack-Daw Pike's indiegogo campaign for funds to produce local theater, will be held on October 5th, 7-10 p.m., at Luck & Levity Brew Shop, 118 Court Street, New Haven.  The evening will feature free music, film, poetry, and even a theater quiz and secret prizes.  For more info, see the contacts on the poster above.