CURRENTLY IN DEVELOPMENT for 2018: FATHER, DAUGHTER - DANCE! A new play about Edwin Booth and his daughter, Edwina, by Jon DiSavino  


Our 2009 production of David Mamet's The Shawl and Doug Wright's Wildwood Park at the Nyack Village Theatre in Nyack, New York was a critical success.

Written by David Mamet (1984 Pulitzer Prize winner for Glengarry Glen Ross), The Shawl, which opened to critical and popular acclaim in April 1985, is about a small-time mystic out to bilk a bereaved woman of her inheritance. In his review of the New Theatre Company's presentation of The Shawl in Chicago, Richard Christiansen called the play "a beautifully crafted piece of work, with a sharp, hurting edge... His (Mamet's) spinning of the yarn... is ingenious, and his control of sounds and rhythms of dialogue has never been more awesome... An exquisitely tooled chamber drama."


(left to right: Jon DiSavino, Jackson Shafer in The Shawl)

(left to right: Kerry Davis, Jon DiSavino in The Shawl)

In Wildwood Park by Doug Wright (2004 Pulitzer Prize winner for I Am My Own Wife), a beleagured real estate agent shows an increasingly suspect buyer around a house which was the scene of a much-publicized crime. In his review of the original production, Bruce Weber of the New York Times said it has "the whimsical facade of entertainment, but the serious intention of addressing the theatregoer as a partner in an enterprise both thoughtful and adult."


(left to right: Kerry Davis, Jon DiSavino in Wildwood Park)

While the styles of these remarkable playwrights may differ, their responses to the pursuit of the American Dream have much in common. Whether in the seamy world of Mamet's hucksters and hustlers, or the upwardly-mobile and privileged one presented by Wright, the desire to believe in a future that holds the promise of something better keeps its inhabitants fumbling toward salvation.


The plays complement each other in surprising ways. One obvious commonality: They share a fascination with the power of illusion. As evidenced in the current events on Wall Street, where the likes of Bernie Madoff and his ilk have taken con-artistry to new heights, the appearance of integrity is not always as it seems. And a setting that on first inspection strikes one as the picture of serenity and harmony may conceal within it the ghosts of a darker past:


Mamet's play, The Shawl, examines the ambiguous world of mysticism and the hold it exerts, not merely upon those who seek answers to life's mysteries, but on its practitioners as well. Wildwood Park, by Doug Wright, explores the unpredictability of life in American suburbia, where the much sought-after institutions of order and security turn out to be, at best, an imagined ideal.


(Photos by John Resanovich)


(left to right: Jon DiSavino, Kerry Davis in The Shawl)

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