The Miniature Theatre of Chester


The American Revolution, The Civil War, Nixon’s Downfall



The Life and Poetry of Yeats Explored in Founding Director’s Production

CHESTER — The Miniature Theatre of Chester’s 10th Anniversary Season takes the challenge of exploring major turning points in three centuries of American History through powerful, thought-provoking, and entertaining live theater. Closing out the season with a change of pace, the Founding Director’s Production will showcase the extraordinary life and works of William Butler Yeats.

Over its first nine years, The Miniature Theatre has earned a reputation for presenting intelligent, entertaining, fully professional productions, including a remarkable 17 World Premieres. In doing so, it has attracted leading actors, directors, and designers from the U.S., England, and Ireland. For its 10th Season, The Miniature Theatre will take on The American Revolution, The Civil War, and the Downfall of Richard Nixon. Joining Artistic Director Byam Stevens will be: Jonathan Bank, Artistic Director of the Mint Theatre in New York; Charles Towers, Associate Artistic Director of the Cincinnati Playhouse in The Park; and Vincent Dowling, Founding Director of The Miniature Theatre.

The Season will open with the July 7-18 East Coast Premiere of The Interrogation of Nathan Hale, by David Stanley Ford, directed by Byam Stevens. The play, set in September of 1776, is an intense, politically charged look at the birth of democracy in America. The young, idealistic Nathan Hale, arrested for spying on British fortifications in New York City, is interrogated by John Montresor, the worldly, sophisticated Chief Engineer of His Royal Majesty’s Expeditionary Forces. The last thing Montresor wants is to provide the American cause with a martyr, but Hale seems bent on his own demise. An intriguing look at the last day of an American hero whose last purported words, "What a pity it is that we can die but once to serve our country." were a quote from a play. The Orange County Register hailed it as: "An exciting play of ideas."

The 20th century is represented by the second production of the season, Nixon’s Nixon, by Russell Lees, directed by Charles Towers. Playing July 21 - August 1, this funny, sometimes mad, satire examines the eve of Richard Nixon’s resignation. Henry Kissinger arrives at The White House intent on the transition to Gerald Ford, but Nixon’s having second thoughts. Perhaps a small global crisis, that only he can avert, will save him from "wandering some hellish golf course, waiting to die." The New York Times raved about this hilarious and tragic look at the downfall of an American president: "Blissfully funny...A fully realized political satire."

The third production, John Brown’s Body, by Stephen Vincent Benet, directed by Jonathan Bank, runs August 4 - 15. Opening with abolitionist John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry and ending at Appomattox, this highly dramatic adaptation of Benet’s epic poem is a portrait of the titanic struggle to achieve equality for all men. Three actors and a chorus of singers join forces to bring the most agonizing episode of 19th century America to theatrical life.

Vincent Dowling’s Founding Director’s Production, playing August 18 - 29, will be I Am of Ireland, by Edward Callan. This one man show is a dramatic journey through the exciting life and times of Nobel Prize winning poet William Butler Yeats. The play is accompanied by music for the Celtic harp composed by Grainne Yeats, the poet’s daughter-in-law. Originally produced by The Abbey Theatre in Dublin, London, and Rome, I Am of Ireland was lauded by The Irish Times as: "Romantic and mystic, human and humorous."


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