Back in the springtime, we came up with the idea of a traveling theater that would move from village to village around Newton and present simply staged plays in unusual locations – “keep it simple, travel light and move from place to place”. It was hard to know ahead of time if it would work. So we rolled the dice and put together a six night, in three locations, production of Brian Friel’s “Faith Healer”. This play was a bodacious choice for a first production – it’s an incredibly difficult role for all three actors. It’s very dark and dense and beautifully written but not an obvious and easy crowd pleaser.
Opening night came, the lights went up, and these three actors (Dave Rich, Linda Goetz, Billy Meleady) delivered three breathtaking performances that completely awed the audiences. The word-of-mouth buzz from those opening weekend was fantastic and the crowds turned up to fill the house for all six performances in the run. The show was set to close last night but we’ve decided to add three additional performances.
We’re packing up the wagons and moving on to a new village. On Friday Nov 7 and Saturday Nov 8 we’ll be bringing “Faith Healer” to Auburndale, to the Auburndale Community Library. Each new venue in the run so far has had a completely different vibe. The volunteer-run, community library should be a cozy and intimate setting for the play.
For the final performance, the camels will be heading east to the Brendan Behan Pub in Jamaica Plain. This last performance will be stripped down even further. No theater seating, just three actors, telling their compelling stories in a pub setting.
If you haven’t seen Faith Healer yet, be sure to catch one of these final three performances. Over the last three weeks a number of Village 14 regulars have seen the show and they can tell you that something special is going on with this production, so don’t miss it.
The success of “Faith Healer” has proven that there is indeed a ready-and-willing audience for this kind of theater in Newton. That’s all we needed to know.
Next up – on Friday Nov 21 we’ll be hosting the Nomad Story Slam at Gregorian Rugs in Lower Falls. It will be a community story telling night loosely modeled on NPR’s Moth Radio Hour. Here’s how it works. The theme of the night will be “on the road”. Anyone who attends can (but is not required to) throw their name in a hat to tell a story. The stories should be roughly 5 minutes long, they must be true, and they must have happened to you, and they should somehow be related to the “”on the road” theme – beyond that, its up to you. It can be funny, or sad, or poignant, or ridiculous – it just has to be a good story. Everyone has at least one good story in them so we urge you to polish it up, come on down to Gregorian Rugs and tell it to us all. If you’ve never been to a “story slam”, you will love it – friends, neighbors, strangers taking turns telling great stories.
We’ll also be featuring a few mystery celebrity story tellers in the mix – familiar faces telling their own stories. If all goes well, we hope to make the Nomad Story Slam a regular event.
We’ll also soon start putting together plans for our second full production for some time in late winter. We’re collecting possible scripts and we greatly appreciate the tips audience members have been sending for possible future productions. If you have ideas of plays that can be simply told, and that rest on the power of the story rather than the glitz of the production, send them along to us ([email protected]). Likewise we also greatly appreciate the tips of lesser known and unusual venues in different corners of Newton. Keep them coming too. We’d like to bring our next production to some new villages and venues. We’re also interested in recruiting more volunteers for all the behind the scenes work (stage management, props, ticket selling, lights, publicity, etc). Experienced or not, if you’re enthusiastic about the nomadic theater idea, then we’d love your help – contact [email protected].
To buy tickets for either “Faith Healer” or the Nomad Story Slam, go to http://NewtonNomadicTheater.org