New Jersey Stage

Friday, July 22, 2011

Chester Theatre Group Holds Auditions For The Cocktail Hour By A.R. Gurney

(CHESTER, NJ) -- The Chester Theatre Group will be holding auditions for its November 2011 production of The Cocktail Hour by A. R. Gurney. The production will be directed by Cindy Alexander and will have performances on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 p.m. and Sunday afternoons at 2 p.m. beginning November 4, 2011 thru November 20, 2011.

Auditions will be held on Sunday August 28 2 p.m. and on Tuesday, August 30 at 7 p.m. at the Black River Playhouse located at the corners of Grove Street and Maple Avenue in Chester, NJ.  Readings will be from the script. Needed are two female and two male actors

Bradley – early 70's (70-74) – WASP patriarch of a wealthy up-state NY family. (Buffalo) Dresses well, plays golf, goes to "the club" and presides over the bar at the evening’s cocktail hour.

Ann – His wife- could be a couple of years younger than her husband but not by much. Also very tastefully dressed, Ann is an elegant lady who is skilled at handling the tasks of running a household. (i.e. managing the servants) She is also very refined and seemingly a little dotty. However, she is the northern version of a Steel Magnolia –stronger than she looks.

John – Their son- early 40s (42-44) Lives in NYC and works as an editor in a publishing house. However, his true calling is as a playwright. He has had several plays produced, but is by no means successful at it. He is in the midst of evaluating his life thus far.

Nina – Their daughter – two years older than her brother John. Happily married daughter who stayed in her hometown. She is obsessed with animals, particularly dogs and longs to change her life. She should have a repressed edge.

THE STORY: The time is the mid '70s, the place a city in upstate New York. John, a playwright, returns to his family's house, bringing with him a new play which he has written about them. His purpose is to obtain their permission to proceed with production, but his wealthy, very proper parents are cautious from the outset. For them the theatre is personified by the gracious, comforting era of the Lunts and Ina Claire, and they are disturbed by the bluntness of modern plays. And there is also John's sister, Nina, to contend with, although her reservations have to do with the fact that John has given her character such a minor role. Their confrontation takes place during the ritual of the cocktail hour, and as the martinis flow so do the recriminations and revelations, both funny and poignant. In the end it is evident that what John has written is closer to the truth than his family has heretofore been willing to admit, and that beneath their WASP reserve his parents and siblings are as beset with uncertainties and frustrations as their presumed "inferiors." But while they seem shackled by the past, and tantalized disappointments and, with unfailing warmth and humor, converting pained resignation into cautious but hopeful anticipation.

Winner of the Lucille Lortel Award as Best Off-Broadway Play. A long-run New York success, this witty, perceptive play blends mordant humor with moments of affecting poignancy. "THE COCKTAIL HOUR is as funny and moving as The Dining Room…it could be the best play he has done so far." —The New Yorker. "It makes for a deliciously funny and also occasionally touching evening, as Gurney's family sit around raking over old coals and settling old scores with a quite new and beguiling freshness."—NY Post. "The lines in the play crackle and pop with an electricity all their own." — Drama-Logue. "…when I watch Gurney at his best, as he is here, I laugh through the tears." —NY Daily News.