The Naples Players (TNP) present acclaimed Playwright Jordan Harrison’s Maple & Vine,
October 25-November 19, 2017.
A young and successful, but stressed out New York couple, Katha (Tina Moroni) and Ryu (Dan Bacalzo), feel like prisoners in their perfectly imperfect 21st-century lives. After they meet Dean (Jesse Hughes), a charismatic man from a community of 1950s re-enactors, they forsake cell phones and sushi for cigarettes and Tupperware parties and surprise themselves by what they are willing to sacrifice for happiness.
“I think we can all agree that our current society is more divided, more disconnected than any time in recent memory,” said TNP’s Artistic Director Bryce Alexander. “Perhaps this is why slogans like ‘Make America Great Again’ seem to have struck such a powerful chord within our communities. We yearn for a simpler time, where things felt more cut and dry, a little less daunting. Maple & Vine is an exploration in that desire. It asks us to look at what forces may be driving us apart. Has technology and the ease of the connection that it brings made us less aware? Has technology made tasks so easy that we no longer feel like we have purpose? Is there comfort in having limited options?”
Maple & Vine is written by Jordan Harrison whose play Marjorie Prime, was a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, with a film adaptation, directed by Michael Almereyda, that premiered in the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and is receiving critical praise as a sci-fi exploration of our inner lives. Maple and Vine premiered in the 2011 Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville and went on to productions at American Conservatory Theatre and Playwrights Horizons. Dan Bacalzo, Assistant Professor of Theatre at FGCU plays the role of Ryu. Having served as a professional theatre critic in New York City, Dan reviewed the original production of Maples & Vine at Playwrights Horizon.
While you will be swept away by the nostalgic beauty of Maple & Vine’s 1950’s era costumes, Harrison never lets you forget that the grass is not always greener on the other side of that vintage Cadillac Eldorado. Ryu’s career as a plastic surgeon is replaced by a monotonous post war factory job and Katha’s world is no longer constricted by packed schedules but is instead confined to the home, where having dinner ready for her husband is the focus of her day. While the limitations imposed by 1950’s culture provide simplicity and order to this couple’s out of control life, humans are anything but simple and divergence from the cultural norms of this group, including their interracial marriage, can prove as isolating as their fast-paced, over-structured lives.
“The play isn’t about picking a side, a decade, or a generation – it is about choosing now,” said Alexander. “Every decade has been beset by war or by social disruption – this play may even challenge some of your own ideals. But instead of looking back, or burying our heads in our phones, or in our TV’s, imagine if we all chose to engage with the people with us now. Imagine how much could be accomplished if we all just tried to live together in the present.”
The Naples Players’ production of Maple & Vine opens Wednesday, October 25 with a red carpet celebration including hors d’ oeuvres by Sage Catering, beer tastings by Riptide and special entertainment. Performances are Wednesdays & Thursdays 7:30pm; Fridays and Saturdays 8:00pm and Sundays 2:00pm in the newly renovated Tobye Studio, October 25-November 19, 2017. Tickets are $40 for adults, $35 for subscribers and $10 for students and educators. For tickets and more information visit www.naplesplayers.org or call (239) 263-7990. Additional shows include Qui Nguyen’s She Kills Monsters, in Blackburn Hall with performances through October 25-November 5. The Naples Players’ have a season full of great shows and theatre classes for adults and youth.
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