November plays mix in comedy

Area stage productions this month will keep audiences invested in some serious drama with a few good laughs to go along.

Winchester Little Theatre will be showing Agatha Christie’s “Spider’s Web” this weekend as well as the weekends of Nov. 12 and 19. In the play, Clarissa Hailsham-Brown is caught up in a whirlwind of stories and mysteries surrounding a dead body.

This production will be Barbara Swink’s 45th directed play, having been with the theater since 1971. Out of the 11-member cast, Swink said she’s introduced eight actors to the Winchester Little Theater stage during her time there. “Spider’s Web” is aptly named for its net of practical jokes, chilling murder and utter confusion.

“It’s one of her more comic ones; others are more deadly serious,” she said.

With a 12 year old among those in the play, Swink said a storyline that combines suspense with comedy will be easy to understand and connect with for all members of the family.

“It’s just fun, and there’s no moral to the story except maybe that of the little boy who cried wolf,” she said.

“Spider’s Web” will show at 8 p.m. on Nov. 6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, and 21 and at 2 p.m. Nov. 8, 14 and 15. Tickets are $19.75 for adults, $17.75 for seniors 62 and older and $15.50 for students and can be purchased at the box office or online at http://tinyurl.com/nuf77ep.

The Schultz Theatre in New Market will be showing Tina Howe’s “Painting Churches” the weekends of Nov. 13 and 20. Three actors will be painting a dramatic and occasionally funny image of the Church family’s struggle through a transitory time in life as Gardner Church battles with dementia.

Gardner’s incessant recitations of famous poems as a retired poet himself resounded with director Catlyn Heily. She said the play serves a reminder for people around her age to make time for showing their loved ones how much they care.

“The storyline itself, it grabbed me,” she said. “It’s about them learning to communicate as a family because it’s something they were obviously very bad at. It was very poignant and very touching, and I fell in love with it.”

Heily knew this was a great play – with a small and talented cast – for her to get back into the swing of directing after about 10 years.

“My actors are amazing…they have, in the span of one day’s rehearsal, taken me from laughing my butt off to crying to laughing again,” she said. “I don’t think it would be quite as effective with a different cast.”

With a more mature plot involving memory loss and some mild language, Heily said it’s not necessarily a play she’d recommend for younger children who might not understand.

“Painting Churches” will play on Nov. 13, 14, 20 and 21 at 7 p.m. and on Nov. 15 and 22 at 3 p.m. Tickets, which can be purchased at the box office or at http://tinyurl.com/qcta2xa, are $13 for adults and $11 for students and seniors.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com