January plays feature personal, complex themes

After the more light-hearted jollity of theatre productions during the holiday season, audiences can sink into some thought-provoking and emotionally mature performances in January.

Amy Thomas will be directing her first performance at Winchester Little Theatre with Wendy Wasserstein’s “Third.” The story depicts an English professor’s plagiarism accusations of a student athlete over the course of a year. Being the last play Wasserstein wrote before she died, Thomas said she immediately fell in love with the show and Wasserstein’s efficient and dense storytelling.

“Everything she’s got in there is important, she has a nice feel for realistic language…it can be funny, it’s sometimes a biting kind of humor,” she said. “Each of the scenes are swiftly drawn, she just really quickly puts them together with really believable characters. I think it lends itself very well to this intimacy of the writing of the play.”

Although the cast is a relatively small roster of five, Thomas said the story heavily involves each of the characters, twisting in complex relationships, personal growth and politics.

“It’s rather deceiving because there’s not one of them that’s a throwaway,” she said. “They’re not just one dimensional and they’re really integral to the course of the plot.”

“Third” will play at Winchester Little Theatre at 8 p.m. today, Saturday, Tuesday, Jan. 15 and 16 and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan.  16 and 17. Tickets can be purchased  at the box office, Winchester Book Gallery, Blue Plate books or online at http://tinyurl.com/na64o6s. Adult admission is $19.75, student admission is $15.50 and admission for seniors 62 older is $17.75. Contact the box office at 540-662-3331.

“Betrayal” is a tale of deception and adultery told from end to beginning and meant for a mature audience because of slight language and thematic elements. Director and Schultz Theatre Production Manager James Custer said he wanted to take on the challenge in the complexities of writer Harold Pinter’s style.

“Pinter incorporates what has now become known as the Pinter pause in his dialogue,” he said. “Something happens in that moment that you have to – as a director and an actor and to some degree as an audience member – figure out what’s going on.”

Custer said that when Pinter first wrote the play in 1977, he had made one of the first plays that told the story in reverse – from the end of the affair leading up to the beginning. The cast only consists of four characters, but Custer said the emotionality and loaded meanings make the show thought-provoking for the audience and challenging for the cast.

“It’s not melodramatic in any means, but it throws a lot at the audience,” he said. “It’s a lot thrown in a short amount of time; it’s a lot to comprehend.”

“Betrayal” will be showing at the Schultz Theatre at 7 p.m. Jan. 15, 16, 22 and 23 and at 3 p.m. Jan. 17 and 24. Tickets are $11 for seniors or students, $13 otherwise and can be purchased at the box office or online at http://tinyurl.com/q3c2jfo. Contact the box office at 540-740-9119.

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