Cotuit Center for the Arts presents Seminar
by Pulitzer Prize nominee Theresa Rebeck, March 7 to 24 in the Black Box Theater. Performances are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:30 PM, and Sundays at 2 PM.
The play is directed by Jess Wilson and presented by the WatermelonAlligator Theatre Company. The group produced Neil LaBute’s critically acclaimed Fat Pig last season and has been seen at CCftA’s Second Wednesday Theatre several times over the past year.
In Seminar, four aspiring novelists sign up for private writing classes with Leonard, an international literary figure. Under his recklessly brilliant and unorthodox instruction, some thrive and others flounder, alliances are made and broken, sex is used as a weapon, and hearts are unmoored. The wordplay is not the only thing that turns vicious as innocence collides with experience in this biting comedy.
The play dives headfirst into the craft and the business of writing. Writers do not exist in a vacuum; they need editors to help them craft their vision and – hopefully – help them bring that vision to life for an audience of readers. Can that editor be trusted, or is even an editor a potential adversary in the ever diminishing world of fiction publishing? Are your fellow students supportive collaborators, or vindictive competitors? Can a writer only draw from personal experience, or can they reinvent themselves and the world around them?
Rebeck, a celebrated author of plays, TV, and films, does not shy away from difficult issues. Her characters here are unashamedly flawed, and it is in those flaws that we see their humanity. Ultimately, this provides the underlying message of Seminar – that everyone, no matter how egregiously flawed, has some redeeming values worth nurturing.
“We all see parts of ourselves in these characters,” Wilson said. “Hopefully, what we will take away from this is not to be so quick to condemn others, because if you take the time to dig below the surface, people just might surprise you.”
The cast of Seminar contains three actors making their Cotuit Center for the Arts debut, alongside some familiar faces.
Beau Boothman of Plymouth is Douglas, the name-dropping nephew of a famous playwright who has experienced some small successes. Boothman was most recently seen locally as Stephano in Midsummer Shakespeare’s The Tempest and is a member of the second touring company of Four Legs to Stand On, an unflinching look at the opioid crisis in southern New England.
Tony Ferreira of Swansea appears as Leonard, a literary legend who eviscerates his students with his coarse misogyny and dismissive critiques. Ferreira was most recently seen as King Duncan in The Glass Horse Project’s production of Macbeth.
Garrett Olson of Pembroke returns to Cotuit as Martin, a writer of unknown talent – unknown because he refuses to show his work to anyone, despite the high priced masterclass seminar. Olson was most recently seen as the Murderer and Young Siward in The Glass Horse Project’s production of Macbeth (for which he also choreographed the stage combat), Donald Strait in How To Survive a Zombie Apocalypse with WatermelonAlligator, Norman in True Repertory Theatre’s The Boys Next Door, and as Tom in Cotuit Center for the Arts’ Fat Pig. He is the Technical Director and Associate Artistic Director for the WatermelonAlligator Theatre Company.
Susan Salvesen of Marion is Izzy, a free-spirited would-be novelist who writes what she knows – sex – with the same abandon she exhibits towards her various liaisons. Salvesen was last seen as Attorney Stevens in Theatre One’s The Night of January 16th and Mary in another Rebeck play, Mauritius, at Your Theatre in New Bedford.
Victoria Smith of Mashpee appears as Kate, a woman from Upper West Side privilege who has been writing the same Austen-inspired short story for six years. Smith appeared in the CCftA’s productions of Fat Pig, Love, Loss, and What I Wore, Frost/Nixon, and several Second Wednesday Theatre productions.
Wilson, who lives in Onset, recently directed Fat Pig for Cotuit Center for the Arts and Leading Ladies at Nemasket River Productions in Middleboro, and is the Managing and Artistic Director for the WatermelonAlligator Theatre Company. She has also appeared in numerous plays in the area, most recently as Macbeth in The Glass Horse Project’s production of Macbeth, Dr Dale Seslick in WatermelonAlligator’s How To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse, and Helen in Cotuit Center for the Arts’ Fat Pig.
Be advised that Seminar contains sexual situations and adult themes.
Tickets are $20, $15 for members.
Cotuit Center for the Arts is at 4404 Route 28 in Cotuit. For more information, visit www.artsonthecape.org or call 508-428-0669.
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“Seminar,” by Theresa Rebeck
Cotuit Center for the Arts, 4404 Route 28, Cotuit
March 7 to 24. Thursday through Saturday, 7:30 PM; Sunday at 2 PM.
$20, $15 for members