Quills Wins 7 BWW 2018 Awards

Our production of Quills by Doug Wright earned seven BWW awards. Thank you to everyone who supported our dream to bring this incredible piece to San Antonio. We had sold out shows each night and were thrilled with the response. Huge thanks to our amazing Stage Manager, Erin Urick for the magic behind the scenes.

We especially want to thank The Overtime Theater for allowing us to produce the show in such a wonderful and intimate space.

Congratulations to Nicole Erwin, Joseph Urick, Morgan Clyde, Michael Song, Susan Brogdon, and Rose Kennedy on these awards:

Best Play
Best Director
Best Costume Design
Best Leading Actor
Best Leading Actress
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress

Quills by Doug Wright

ARIA Creative Productions asks “What is Art?” with controversial show about the Marquis de Sade at the Overtime Theater

“In order to know virtue, we must first acquaint ourselves with vice.” One of the many memorable quotes from the infamous libertine and author, Donatien Alphonse François, otherwise known as the Marquis de Sade. The Marquis, to say the least, is a historically polarizing figure historically who spent the better part of his adult life in prisons and mental asylums throughout France due to his penchant for writing macabre stories fraught with pornography, violence, and some of the most extreme aspects of human behavior. His legacy is so profound, that even the words “sadism: and “sadist” are derived from his surname.

Quills-Promo-Press

In 1995, Texas-born playwright Doug Wright took pen to paper and composed his own story about this tumultuous character. Quills premiered at the Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, D.C. and went on to win an Obie Award, as well as be adapted by Wright himself into a full-length motion picture starring Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet and Michael Caine. The film was critically acclaimed, earning Rush a BAFTA, a Golden Globe Award, and an Academy Award nomination for his performance as the Marquis.

Quills will be the first stand-alone production for ARIA in 2018. ARIA co-produced the regional tour of The Last 5 Years with Texas Light Opera earlier this year. It was during that production ARIA Executive Director Nicole Erwin was given the script and immediately became intrigued by its message.

“We want to show San Antonio something provocative, not just emotionally, but physically and mentally, as well,” says director Nicole Erwin. “This show, much like the author it’s written about, is as controversial as it gets. Within the first few minutes, the audience will be thrown eloquently written pieces of literature, featuring some of truly perverse scenarios: rape, murder and coprophagia, just to name a few. While we look at such things as atrocious, and justly so, one only has to look at our modern culture and ask, , ‘How deplorable do we really consider these things?’”

It was during The Last 5 Years that Erwin and ARIA Artist-in-Residence Joseph Urick began to brainstorm the possibility of putting on such a production. “The chance to bring its source material to life is staggering, but incredibly exciting as well. It is our hope that the show will be both terrifying and wonderful to watch,” says Urick.

The production is full of material pulled directly from Sade’s work, and, as expected, is not for all audiences. “At its heart,” continues Urick, “beyond the sex and the erotica, the story is not about the quality of Sade’s work, rather, it directly asks the audience, ‘What is art?’ ‘Is there a difference between good and bad art?’ ‘Should art ever be censored?’ ‘Who makes the decision to censor it?’ And, most importantly, ‘What gives them to right to make such a decision?’”

The show features a hyper-fictionalized re-telling of the Marquis’ final days at Charenton, a mental asylum in France where the historical Marquis actually did live and die. “Bringing the asylum to life at the Overtime is going to be quite a challenge,” says Erwin.  “We are in the small theatre that seats just over twenty-five seats, so spacing is going to be limited. However, in such an intimate space, we really want to put the action in the audience’s laps, so, in the tradition of the French neo-classic period, we are going to present this show in the French Tennis Court style, with the audience on two sides.”

“But what makes the show daunting is the extreme subject matter,” continues Erwin, “It would be quite easy to censor some of the more controversial moments of the play, but, if we did, when the play itself is about the lengths some go to censor art, then why do the show at all? So, yes, this production will pull no punches and will feature all those salacious details the Marquis was notorious for. It is my hope that the discerning audience will, at least, have lots of food for thought afterward.”

Quills will feature a cast of six, including Michael Song as Dr. Royer-Collard, a staunchly moral man of seemingly impeccable character; Robert Moritz as the Abbe de Coulmier, a merciful priest whose soft heart and merciful devotion are put to the test; Morgan Clyde as the chambermaid Madeleine Leclerc, a laundry lass smitten with the Marquis’ works; James Lindsley as Monsieur Prouix, an architect who works for Dr. Royer-Collard, Susan Brogdon as Renee Pelagie, the Marquis’ ill-begotten wife, who is desperate to silence her philandering husband, by any means; and finally, Urick will play the insufferably impish Marquis.

Due to its graphic adult content, intense subject matter, and provocative language and situations, this production will be held for a limited run, with only four public performances, and one preview.

Quills is produced by ARIA Creative under special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc.

Quills is meant for mature audiences only, and will feature male nudity, Adult language, situations, and themes. Only those over 18 will be admitted. No exceptions. This production is not recommended for those with sensitive religious beliefs.

Performances: July 19-July 28; Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00PM; No Sunday matinees.
$20 General Admission. Tickets Online at https://ariaquills.brownpapertickets.com 

Location: The Overtime Theater, 5409 Bandera Rd. Suite 205, San Antonio, TX 78238  Phone: (210) 557-7562

Runtime: Two Hours. One Intermission. Reviewers are invited on or after July 18. Photos Courtesy of Mary Rath.

 

 

Alzheimer’s play leaves audience in tears

Greg Hinojosa and Whitney Marlett
Greg Hinojosa and Whitney Marlett

The world premiere of  “The Last Waltz”, a play about those who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and the loved ones who care for them, opened to full houses and rousing ovations on the weekend of January 13th.  Many people left the theater in tears after this emotionally charged drama.

The play by Bernard J. Taylor tells of a doctor who commissions a composer to create a piece of music as an anniversary present for his wife, who is suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s. Music is one of the few things that seem to give her peace and joy. In the beginning we see the doctor committing some highly questionable acts on his wife but his motivation becomes clearer in his discussions with the composer. After his wife dies, the doctor has a life changing experience.

Four leading San Antonio actors have been cast in the roles: Greg Hinojosa, Artistic Consultant for the Magik Theatre who recently won an ATAC award for his performance in Born Yesterday at The Classic Theatre, will be adding almost 20 years to his real age to play the Doctor; Whitney Marlett, who delighted audiences with her recent performance in Jackson Square at the Overtime, plays his afflicted wife; Kathy Feinstein, ATAC Award Winner for Blythe Spirit, plays the loyal Nurse; and Torence B. White, local favorite of Queen’s Castle at Overtime Theater, plays the composer.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions. It is irreversible and slowly destroys thinking skills and eventually the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with Alzheimer’s, symptoms first appear in their mid-60s. Estimates vary, but experts suggest that more than 5 million Americans may have the disease.

A talkback with the cast was held after the show on Sunday, Jan 15, and many members of the audience stayed to ask questions of the Alzheimer’s Association’s representative, neuroscientist Brett Bonney, and cast members.  Another talkback will be held on Sunday the 22nd at 3p.m.  A representative from The Alzheimer’s Association of San Antonio (alz.org/sanantonio) will again be available to answer audience questions and provide helpful resources. A silent auction benefiting the Alzheimer’s research will be held on opening night, Jan 13, and will feature paintings from the Playwright and other artists. The theater will also accept donations for the organization. The production is dedicated to Ron Casola, Director of The Live Oak Singers, and other sufferers of the disease, along with those who care for them.

A silent auction on opening night raised $465 towards Alzheimer’s research and playwright Bernard J. Taylor is donating 25 per cent of his future royalties from this play to the Alzheimer’s Association.

There are three final performances on Friday (20th, Saturday the 21st and a matinee at 3 on Sunday.

To book seats, call The Overtime Theater at (210)  557  75621  or order them online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/producer/67145.  Tickets cost  $15 (General) and $10 (Senior/Student/Military) and $8 (groups of 10 or more).