Some “old ducks” are proving they have learned a few new tricks still they can show off.
In mid-November a reincarnated Boston theater company that spotlighted senior women will launch a Dot-based dinner theater series, featuring a short play that’s been described as “a romantic comedy about horticulturists cross-pollinating.”
Lanford Wilson’s “A Betrothal” will be presented Friday, Nov. 15 (8 p.m. curtain) and Saturday Nov. 16 (6:30 curtain) at the Dot to Dot Café in the St. Mark’s area. It is the first production of Avenue Stage, whose mission is to produce short works in a dinner theater/book club format for the Dorchester audience.
Michael O’Halloran, a Dot resident for the past 15 years and a longtime 3rd grade teacher at the Edward Everett School, used to be the Artistic Director of the QE2 Players, who were active in Boston from 1997 to 2008. QE2 was founded by two expatriate actresses British Rosemary Ryding and the Australian Jennifer Jones, a pair of self-described “old ducks” in order to “stage plays that reveal older women as complex, dynamic people; people who make important choices, who affect others, who give and take and act – Old Ducks who swim well within the main current of life.”
In venues like the Boston Center for the Arts QE2 mounted works like Harold Pinter’s Moonlight; Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads; Caryl Churchill’s Fen and Blue Heart; and Willy Russell’s Shirley Valentine.
Now O’Halloran and Jones have reteamed for “A Betrothal,” a 30-minute, two-character, one-act comedy set in a rain-soaked refreshment tent at flower show. While sipping cold coffee, two disgruntled elderly exhibitors — the baffled Mr. Kermit Wasserman (Geoff Pingree) and the furious Ms. J.H. Joslyn (Jones) — vent their anger at being passed over by the judges. But could this chance meeting bring about a new and dazzling hybrid that will take the horticultural world by storm?
Wilson was one of the most successful Off-Broadway playwrights of the sixties, seventies, and eighties, and a co-founder of the influential Circle Repertory Company in New York. His best-known plays include Balm in Gilead (1964), The Rimers of Eldritch (1967), The Hot L Baltimore (1973); Fifth of July (1975); and Burn This (1986).
Halloran, who directed A Betrothal, noted that the Friday night show was almost sold out and that’s why he added the Saturday.
“If these two performances do well,” he said, “we might bring the play back later in the year or next spring. I have several other short plays in mind that would work well at Dot to Dot…and [chef/owner] Karen [Henry-Garrett] is so supportive and wonderful.”
Dot 2 Dot Café is located at on 1739 Dorchester Avenue, where owners make everything from scratch.
Tickets ($24, includes dinner) may be purchased in person at the cafe; online at avenuestage.org; or by calling Brown Paper Tickets at 1-800-838-3006.