Home / /
Dot’s actor/director Siders is Joe Bell in ‘Guided Tour’ run at Hibernian Hall
You don’t need to pack your passport or camera to go on the “Guided Tour,” at least not the one being staged at Hibernian Hall in Dudley Square. Actually, that’s the title of 95-minute award-winning play starring Dorchester actor/director Vincent Ernest Siders, opening next Wednesday and running for nine performances through June 1.
The play tells the story of an African-American Renaissance man, Joe Bell (portrayed by Siders), who has been in jail for 14 years for burning down a Gilded Age mansion in Rhode Island where he once worked as a tour guide. A young law student, Susanna Hatch (Melissa Jesser), visits him in jail in a quest to prove his innocence and learns a lesson about the irrational power of love. The cast also includes Elisabeth Rodgers as Lindsay Pettigrew, a wealthy heiress who owned the mansion, and Luis Negron as Martin Rivera, a prison psychiatrist. The show is directed by Heidi Grumelot.
“Guided Tour,” is the second of four full-length plays by Peter Snoad to be produced by Hibernian Hall, which has selected him as Visiting Playwright. His “Raising David Walker” was presented at Hibernian Hall in October 2013 with Siders serving as the stage director. The play recalls the anti-slavery efforts of 19th-century Bostonian David Walker, whose “Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World” inspired everyone from Frederick Douglass to Malcolm X.
Snoad, raised in London, England, and now a resident of Jamaica Plain, has received fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. His work has been produced throughout the United States and in Canada, Britain, Australia, and Singapore.
“I’m excited that “Guided Tour” is finally getting a full production in my adopted hometown,” said Snoad. (It had a staged reading at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre six years ago.) “The play earned me two national new play awards, the Stanley Drama Award and the Arthur W. Stone New Play Award, won the new play contest of Centre Stage-South Carolina, and has received three other productions – in South Carolina, Louisiana, and Tennessee.”
Siders has received plenty of kudos himself. His acting credits include Tom in “Glass Menagerie” (Lyric Stage); Friar in “Much Ado About Nothing” (Wang Theater & Commonwealth Shakespeare Co.); James in “Monticel” ( Boston Playwright’s Theater); Rooftop in “Our Lady of 121” (SpeakEasy Stage Company ) and Lucius in “Jesus Hopped the “A” Train” (Company One).
Siders won the Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) Award for Best Actor two years in a row, back in 2004 and 2005. He also received the 2004 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Actor. He was Boston Magazine’s “Best Actor” in 2004, and the Boston Globe named him one of its “Hottest New Faces” in 2005.
Looking ahead, “Identity Crisis” will be staged in November 2014, and “The Draft” in January 2015. Siders told the Reporter that it’s too early to say whether he will be involved in these final two productions.
“Guided Tour” runs May 16-18, May 23-25, and May 30 - June 1. Tickets can be purchased at the door or at hibernianhall.org.