OFFSEAON a dramedy that takes place in Provincetown is now on Amazon!
My character, Maya Wholly, is a general contractor, yoga instructor...murderer?
Provincetown Theater lets 'Earnest' have a Wilde time
May 26, 2016
By Candace Hammond Banner Correspondent
The hallmark of good writing is that it stands the test of time: Shakespeare, obviously. But also on that list has to be the searingly funny Mr. Oscar Wilde.
“The Importance of Being Earnest” is a comedy about faked personas and social expectations. It is still pertinent, and the humor completely holds up.
First performed in 1895, the play is as sharp, biting and uproariously funny as ever and, under the direction of David Drake, the current production at the Provincetown Theater turns the play on its ear in a delightfully clever way.
Drake takes an unusual approach with his terrific cast: every role is played by someone of the opposite sex, and it works beautifully. It would be easy for this to be a super-camp production, but it isn’t. It just works.
Earnest, played skillfully by Anne Stott, comes off as a sympathetic character rather than a cad. She makes him so likable that you want him to get the girl and get away with his ruse.
Alexandra Foucard sparkles as Algernon, and lights up the stage whenever she appears. Her breezy, cocky characterization brings Algernon to life in a delightful way. You almost forgive him for being such a scamp because Foucard makes him so endearing.
As wonderful as the women in the cast are playing men, the men in the cast are completely hilarious in their female roles.
Anthony Jackman, playing Lady Bracknell, is perfect as the pinched and straight-laced matriarch. Gwendolyn, in an over-the-top performance, is played to perfection by Scott Cunningham. With a physique more akin to a football player than a delicate woman, Cunningham evokes laughter with every side glance and head toss. He simply shines. Michael Burke, as Cecily, is wonderful as the naive, yet calculating ward of Jack/Earnest. The exchanges with both Algernon and Gwendolyn are very funny.
The entire cast shines. Bragan Thomas as Cecily’s governess, Miss Prism, is a standout, as is Sally Tighe as the Rev. Chasuble. Rounding out the cast are Earnest/Jack’s butlers — Lane, played by Alison Hyder, and Merriman, played by Connie Tavanis — who are stalwart supporters of their boss, keeping secrets and confidences for their dual role-playing employer.
The set goes through two transformations during the play, and shows once again how well simplicity works. We are taken from a London drawing room to a garden and to the living room of a country estate, all with well-placed simple props. Tristan DiVincenzo and Mary Beth Travis are the designers; Phoebe Otis did the costumes, dressing the gender-bending cast perfectly.
The play is performed in three acts with no intermission. At close to two hours, it’s a long sit, but with whip-smart dialogue it does move along. From beginning to end the audience was right with the cast, laughing aloud and having a wonderful night. That’s not bad for a play over 120 years old. Thank you, Mr. Wilde.
Cast's chemistry resonates in farcical 'Earnest'
Cape Cod Times
May 24, 2016
By Carol Panasci Contributing writer
"The Importance of Being Earnest" was, ironically, the height of Oscar Wilde's career as well as the beginning of its downfall.
“The Importance of Being Earnest” was, ironically, the height of Oscar Wilde’s career as well as the beginning of its downfall. It was 1895 in Victorian England and a still-closeted Wilde wrote a farcical, witty, fluffy piece that simultaneously identified and examined social issues. Opening night ignited a conflict with the Marquess of Queensberry (whose son was Wilde’s lover) that culminated in ugly court battles and Wilde spending two years in prison for the crime of being gay.
When he got out of prison, Wilde left England, an exile for life.
“Earnest” at Provincetown Theater is total farce, silly, over-the-top ridiculousness, bolstered by Wilde’s rapid-fire wit, double entendres and references to social issues such as gender equality, marriage (“Three’s company and two is none”) and class structure. The story line is simple yet complicated. There are double identities and duplicities abound. Earnest (Anne Stott) is in love with Gwendolyn (Scott Cunningham) and Algernon (Alexandra Foucard) is in love with Cecily (Michael Burke). But the de facto matriarch, Lady Bracknell (Anthony Jackman) is the puppet master, making sure all the matches work to her satisfaction. The basic story is kind of formulaic, but the genius of Wilde transforms a somewhat mundane plot into a fast-paced, fun evening of theater.
If you were paying attention, you would have noticed that the male roles are played by females and vice versa. In the play’s history, the Lady Bracknell character was sometimes played by a man, but this production is totally gender-bended. And it works. Fabulously. From the start, as stage hands dress the set, the actors all dress (more accurately cross-dress) themselves. The audience is clued in to the premise, but it is a dicey tactic; this device runs the risk of becoming gimmicky, trite. Instead, the twist provides a bonus layer of farce, comedy and laughter, punctuating the sharp and silly dialogue.
The cast is clearly having a lot of fun, and their chemistry resonates with the audience. This is truly an ensemble cast, working together to effect a unique theater experience. Among the remarkable cast members, standouts include Stott and Foucard as the romantic leads. Jackman as Lady Bracknell nearly stole the show with dowager pretensions. David Drake’s direction is spot-on, finding the balance between farce and over-the-top. Kudos, too, to Phoebe Otis for the magnificent costumes and Tristan DiVincenzo for a creative set design utilizing pulleys and backdrops to optimize the small space.
It’s almost summer. Venture out to the tip of Cape Cod and enjoy a terrific production of a lively, silly, yet still significant 121-year old play. Make an evening of it, act like a tourist. Have some fun!
September 23, 2016
by Steve Desroches
A Lovefest Cabaret at Tin Pan Alley
Last December, Alexandra Foucard and her partner Patricia were strolling around town looking for a place to have dinner and settled upon Tin Pan Alley. On that chilly night Jim Brosseau was playing the piano, filling the restaurant with warmth and music. A veteran of Broadway and jazz performances, Foucard was encouraged by her partner to get up and sing at the piano, an idea to which she initially demurred. Brosseau, overhearing the prompt, invited her himself to sing, having seen Foucard perform at the Coffeehouse at the Mews several times. She sang “My Funny Valentine” and wowed everyone there, including the owners Jack Kelly and Paul Melanson.
That December evening led to Brosseau, Kelly, and Melanson encouraging Foucard to come back in the summer to perform. She took the challenge and immediately called her friend, pianist and composer David Sisco. A summer in Provincetown performing together was all he needed to hear; he said yes. The collaboration led to the creation of the cabaret show Comes Love: Songs From the Heart And Other Places,which the duo performed all summer at Tin Pan Alley, with special dates coming up this fall. What turned out to be a hit show started as a moment of panic.
“To be honest the idea of doing a cabaret show freaks me out,” says Foucard. “It’s one thing to be a character, but it’s another to be yourself.”
Creating this cabaret show was a new experience for the two very experienced musicians, one they say they decided to pursue because of the creative freedom of Provincetown. Foucard’s background is primarily in musical theater with a resume that includes performing as Fantine and Eponine on Broadway in Les Miserables and as Adelaide in the national tour of Guys and Dolls. Sisco comes from a more classical background, working in music composition and vocal performance. He came to musical theater later in his career through teaching. Combining their diverse backgrounds led to a cabaret show full of surprises and a unique voice and vision.
“The great thing that has come with age is how to combine all that you’ve learned,” says Sisco. “I owe a lot to Alexandra. She knows a lot about all kinds of music. It’s challenging and encouraging to me.”
Creating the show by taking chances led to such mash-up medleys as “Show Me” from My Fair Lady with the 1990s power ballad “More Than Words” by the hair band Extreme. From Broadway to pop, torch songs to obscure AM Gold tunes, Foucard and Sisco created a show of songs about love that are heartfelt or, as the playfully suggestive name hints, also about the kind of love that lasts for a mere fling. The name Comes Loveis from a song on the 2000 album Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell, an artist whose work makes frequent appearances in the show. And over this past summer the duo have amassed over 100 songs, providing them the opportunity to present a lazy-Susan night of music.
The success of the show, and the devoted enthusiasm for what is a new realm of performance for Foucard and Sisco, has Comes Love returning next summer and going beyond Provincetown in the months to come with dates in New York in October and gigs in the works for next year in London, Paris, and Melbourne, Australia. But the home of Comes Love, both literally and artistically, will always be Provincetown, say Sisco and Foucard. It’s where the show and they as performers blossomed. And in part, the success of the show was born out of their tight knit friendship and the expression of it onstage, with the banter back and forth being organic and sincere rather than scripted.
“I’ve grown so much as an artist from April to September this year,” says Foucard. “It’s because Jack and Paul have really created an atmosphere for things to happen.”
If there is a third star to the show it’s Tin Pan Alley, say Sisco and Foucard. Beyond creating a physical cabaret space, Melanson and Kelly have maintained an energy of fun, music, and limitless creativity. It’s not the kind of venue that asks its acts to push drinks and to stick to a rote formula. Rather, they want the musicians there to experiment and to create something they are really passionate about, say Foucard and Sisco. And in turn, it attracts the same kind of audience (minus the one guy this summer who, several drinks into the evening, felt he could keep up with Foucard’s Carmen.) Again, a new experience for them, performing in a cabaret format, proved to be a thrill. Rather than the experience of a recital or theatrical production, the rules of cabaret are much, much looser. So getting the audiences to pin-drop silence or into raucous laughter harder to do.
“Those are the moments that are special,” says Sisco. “And they feel really hard earned as performers. It’s gratifying.”
Alexandra Foucard and David Sisco present Comes Love: Songs From the Heart And Other Places at Tin Pan Alley, 269 Commercial St., Provincetown, Saturday, September 26, Friday, October 16, and Saturday, October 17, 9 p.m. – 12 a.m. For more information call 508.487.1648 or visit tinpanalleyptown.com.