Author: Brock Vickers

Penelope Reed Wins the Theatre Philadelphia Lifetime Achievement Award

In Philadelphia, no one has started more careers than Penelope Reed, and now 25 years later she will be honored by Theatre Philadelphia’s Barrymore Award for A Lifetime of Achievement for her service to Hedgerow Theatre Company, “The Mother of All Philadelphia theatre companies,” as well as the Philly theatre community at large.

Her roots with Hedgerow stretch back into her youth. Along with her mother Janet Kelsey, Ms. Reed studied under Jasper Deeter, the founder of Hedgerow Theatre, in 1962, at the age of 17. Little did she know that many years later she would return to the “intrepid Hedgerow Theatre” as its Producing Artistic Director, reviving the theatre to National prominence and, like Jasper himself, creating new theatre artists along the way.     

A leading actress for 12 years at the Milwaukee Repertory Company, Ms. Reed was also a director and a playwright. As a leading member of the McCarter Theatre for 9 years, her duties included that of Master Acting teacher and director. She has directed over 100 productions at a variety of theatres across the United States.

In 1992, Ms. Reed took the helm of Hedgerow, bringing her years of experience to Hedgerow to return it to its National standing as a theatre of excellence. She represented the next generation of a long line of actors and educators at Hedgerow, as, from its roots, the theatre has focused on the training and creating of future actors. From Jasper and Rose Schulman, Ms. Reed reignited the educational programs and strengthened the company mindset of Hedgerow by reinvigorating the apprenticeship program.

Ms. Reed transformed Hedgerow from a burned down shell of a building back into a professional theatre with an identity both for theatre production and education.  

The Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre are a nationally recognized symbol of excellence for professional theatre in the Greater Philadelphia region, honoring local artists and theatre companies while increasing public awareness of the richness and diversity of our city’s thriving theatre community.

Named in honor of the famed Philadelphia-based first family of theatre, the Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre have served as Philadelphia’s professional theatre awards program since 1994. The Barrymore Awards are a nationally recognized symbol of excellence for professional theatre in our region, raising the bar for the work produced by local theatres and individual artists while increasing public awareness of the richness and diversity of our city’s thriving theatre community. Each fall, theatregoers and artists come together to celebrate the theatre season and honor that year’s Barrymore nominees and award recipients at the annual Barrymore Awards Ceremony.

Ms. Reed will join recent winners Sara Garonzik, Johnnie Hobbs, Jr.,Johnnie Hobbs, Jr. as well as friends and collaborators Louis Lippa, Tom McCarthy, and James J. Christy.

Today, Ms. Reed is a Director Emeritus at Hedgerow Theatre, serving as both an actor and a consultant. She has handed the company off to her son, Jared Reed, who is following his mother’s example and strengthening the core company of the theatre.

Ms. Reed will be appearing in the fall thriller, Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit, in the role of Madame Arcati.

Hedgerow Theatre is located at 64 Rose Valley Road in Rose Valley (near Media). For more info, call 610-565-4211 or visit www.HedgerowTheatre.org.

Robert Smythe Playwriting Intensive

Hello to you all!

Some people have asked about what they should bring, how to prepare, etc. Here are the simple answers:

This class is for writing and about writing. It is not about acting or directing or anything else. We’ll be writing. Focusing on telling stories. Trying to understand how to tell a certain kind of story in a certain way. In the 30 hours or so that we have together, we will only be able to scratch the surface.

As far as what stories you want to tell: if you already have an idea you want to explore, or something in progress, great. You could work with those ideas. If you have no idea of what you’re going to do, great! You’re all taken care of. There would be no point in taking this class if you did all the work ahead of time.

I suggest you focus on your own creature comforts (like coffee and decent pens)–the things you feel you’ll need to be able to concentrate on having a great experience. I can say that this won’t be what you’re expecting, so relax and let it happen. You’ll be fine.

1) You will be writing. A lot. I prefer that you do this without a computer, for several reasons, not least of which is that thinking with pen in hand is so much more… thoughtful. It is also more conducive to looking around and seeing the world, including your fellow writers. An upraised screen puts a barrier between you and everyone else, so let’s not use them. You may, however, want to use a computer at home for assignments (yes, there are those) to make them a bit easier.

2) As you will be writing on paper, you will want to bring some. If your writing tends to run downhill, you might want lined paper: no one will think the less of you for it. I find I cannot write on anything other than 14″ yellow legal pads. But that is me.

3) You will want to bring something to hold your paper(s) together: a folder, a notebook. I strongly suggest you invest in one of the larger Moleskin notebooks, which are around 5 x 8″. Not only do they announce that you are a Writer, they are good reminders to yourself that you indeed, are a writer. They are handy for toting down to the beach, or pulling out of your pocket when you get an idea. An idea not written down is lost: you will not remember it later, I promise you. And the Moleskin is so much handier to have on one’s person at all times than the large loose-leaf binder. So you might want to have two sources of paper.

4) Bring pens. Pens that you like, that you LOVE to write with. Nothing is worse than trying to work with the pen you scrounged from a motel somewhere. Please don’t ask me to lend you a pen. I mean, really?

5) You’ll need something to lean on. We’ll be inside but you might want to move around, even outside, and you’ll need a writing surface. A clipboard, a slab of oak felled by lightning: anything on which you can lean and write neatly. The cardboard backing on pads of paper tends to give out after a while. At times, others will be reading what you’ve written. Out loud. (yes, they will. Get over it.) Writing neatly is important so they don’t stumble over your words and give new, unintended meaning to what you’ve written.

6) Coffee. You might want coffee. Even a thermos of coffee.

That’s about it.

Oh. I asked previous participants to write to you with their advice for getting the most out of our time together. This is what they sent:

“Allow yourself to write freely and openly. Put as much as you can out on the table, to make the most of the opportunity for feedback from the teacher and your peers.”

“I had a project I was working on which helped a lot… and it appeared that most others did too. I think that having a project in motion was very helpful… I would encourage people with a project in motion (especially a long one) take the class. It might be useful for others without a project to… come up with something.”

“Be prepared to kill many, many darlings.”

“Find a pen that you really enjoy using.”

“Do your homework before you arrive. Remind yourself of what you think story means, start thinking about narrative, and take stock of your writing practices before you arrive. Be prepared and primed to move.”

“Worry less about agreeing/disagreeing with Robert’s ideas and more about working with them. The time frame is so short and the concepts (to me) radical, that it is easy to get mired in whether you “agree” with what he is saying, rather than using the time to experiment with the concepts.”

“Invest in your own work and in the work of those in the class. I found the most rewarding moments were when I bonded with classmates.”

“Remember Robert’s model for critique: it is not easy to adopt, but it is valuable both in the class and for life.”

“Don’t just do the assignments: take good notes. You will need them as you think back on the class.”

“Be immediately bold. Breaking the ice artistically is difficult, but it enlivens the room and frees you to take the risks you are there to take.”

“Be prepared to work. Be prepared to do homework. Be prepared to be challenged. Be prepared to challenge yourself. Be prepared to laugh. Be prepared to see yourself grow. Be prepared to indulge every moment.”

“Don’t let anxiety prevent you from taking a risk in this non-threatening environment.”

If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to email me, and if you’re brave, copy the whole group of people so your excellent question and my excellent answer get seen by everyone.

Or, if you’re shy, just email me.

Or call me: 267-240-3679.

I’m very much looking forward to meeting and working with you all.

ROBERT SMYTHE is the founder of the Playwriting Program of the International Puppetry Conference at the Tony-winning O’Neill Theater Center. Named “Best Professor” by Philadelphia Magazine in 2010, he was a University Fellow at Temple University where he received his MFA in Playwrighting. His ground-breaking application of narrative theory to puppetry, “Reading a Puppet Show: Understanding the Three-Dimensional Narrative,” was published in The Routledge Companion to Puppetry and Material Performance (2015); his work on motor contagion was published in Acta Psychologica.
An acclaimed theater artist, Smythe is the recipient of Guggenheim, Pew, NEA, and six Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fellowships. He has won six Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theater in areas ranging from education to choreography. The founder of Mum Puppettheatre, his work, according to Philadelphia City Paper, “sparked the theater renaissance that continues to this day.” As Mum’s Artistic Director for 23 years, he wrote, directed and performed over 20 original productions using puppets, masks, and human actors in Philadelphia and on tour on four continents. His 2010 collaboration with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, “l’Histoire du Soldat,” for the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts won the 2011 Barrymore Award for Outstanding Collaboration.
Click here to register. 

You Cannot Eclipse Ann Harding

On Monday, August 21st, the day of the total solar eclipse, The Turner Classics TV Network will dedicate an entire day and night to showing 15 of Ann Harding’s 40 movies, starting at 6 a.m. The eclipse, on that day, is “one star allowing another star to shine”.

Ann first appeared on the stage at the East Orange High School, in New Jersey, where she surprised the audience with her interpretation of the seductive spy, Theda Bara. She also spent a year attending Bryn Mawr College. Inspired by her time there and wanting to continue, she moved to New York where she met Jasper Deeter.

After attending a play by Provincetown Players (where Deeter was a leading actor/director), Ann discovered that the acting company was holding auditions for a part, and she decided to give it a try. Asked to come back the next evening and read for a larger part,  to her surprise, she won it. She subsequently received critical acclaim for her role in “Inheritors” (1921) and decided she would continue her budding career, that included a total of 72 plays on and off Broadway.

Deeter returned from New York to Rose Valley, bringing with him seven actors including Harding, blue cheesecloth, 16 light bulbs, some wood paneling, nine dollars, and the idea of an independent repertory theatre. Hedgerow Theatre was born.  

Harding perfected her craft at Hedgerow and attained national recognition; in addition to stage performances, she acted in 40 movies, 28 radio programs, and 44 TV programs, and has two stars on the Hollywood walk of fame, for film and TV. She was the 16th star to leave her footprints at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, that now has more than 200 stars so honored. Ann was one of only a few stars to address their fans directly. In the cement she wrote, “Whatever Success I Have, You Make Possible”.

She was signed by Pathe Studios in 1929 and made her debut with Fredric March in “Paris Bound” (1929).  As she was trained before microphones were invented, she could project her voice beyond the 10th row. This ability was an asset in the introduction of the early “talkies”. Some silent stars could not make the transition because of their voice quality. She became a Hollywood leading lady and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in “Holiday” (1930). In “The Animal Kingdom” (1932) she was the gentle refined heroine, when she played Daisy, the rejected fiancée of Leslie Howard which came to be her “type”. She also starred with leading men Basil Rathbone, Ronald Coleman, William Powell, Herbert Marshall, Robert Young, Richard Dix, and Gary Cooper in a wide variety of movies.

She quit films in 1937 when she married conductor Werner Janssen, but she could not stay away, and came back five years later in “Eyes in the Night” (1942) with Gale Storm and Edward Arnold. For the next five years she played mature character roles. Another break, another 3 films and then in 1956, she appeared once again with Fredric March, the man with whom she started her career in “The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit” (1956). She continued to appear sporadically on TV in the 1960s and died at age 80 in 1981.

Throughout her career she would make return appearances to Hedgerow, where she even provided the funds for the actor residence now known as Hedgerow theatre school and house.

More information: Ann Harding Bio

 

Looking for A Family Treat?

It’s summer time and the kids are bored. Want something more exciting than a Netflix documentary? Need something everyone can laugh at?

Hop aboard Phileas Fogg’s hot-air balloon as Hedgerow Theatre Company’s small troupe of actors take on a global collection of carnival characters in Mark Brown’s imaginative and theatrical re-imagining of Jules Verne’s 1873 adventure, Around the World in 80 Days, running July 6 to August 13. All the world’s a stage, literally, in this theatrical tour-de-force.

Hedgerow Theatre Company has found a way to make you feel like a world traveler without ever leaving Delaware County. Hedgerow’s lively production of Around the World in 80 Days, Mark Brown’s adaptation of the Jules Verne classic, uses five actors and some deft staging to convey the humor and adventure of this timeless tale.” – DCMetroTheatreArts.com

The intrepid adventurer Phileas Fogg with his loyal valet, Passepartout, agrees to an outrageous wager that puts his life and fortune at risk, as he embarks on a grand journey from Victorian London through Asia and across the Pacific in precisely 80 days.

“Playwright Mark Brown adapted this version from Jules Verne’s novel in 2001, and like some other stage adaptations of well-known books or films, the show is both a spoof and a celebration of the original. Its success depends greatly on the inventiveness of a five-member cast…” Newsworks.org

Stampeding elephants, raging typhoons, runaway trains, and unabashed slapstick fill this farcical adventure from start to finish. Hedgerow Theatre tackles the challenge of Verne’s epic adventure with its talented cast in its beautiful rustic setting and brings the joy and humour of Brown’s adaptation to life.

“The adventure is full of funny antics and dialog with many memorable characters. Hedgerow’s small cast is more than up to the challenge of providing laughs and high energy action.” -DelcoCultureVultures.com

Adult ticket prices are $35, with a $3 discount for seniors. Tickets for those 30 and under, as well as for students, are $20. For groups of 10 or more, tickets are $18. Prices include all fees and are subject to change. For reservations or more info, call 610-565-4211 or visit www.HedgerowTheatre.org. Hedgerow Theatre is located at 64 Rose Valley Road in Rose Valley (near Media).

Mark Swift: A Student of Comedy

“I like to think that I have been unofficially studying comedy all my life,” says Mark Swift one of the nimble actors of Mark Brown’s tour-de-force adaptation of Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days.  “I am of the opinion that there’s no greater gift to give someone than laughter, and that really helps around the holidays because I have a big family.”

From a technical standpoint, Swift likes to throw himself at the wall until someone laughs, and then, he says, it sticks. As he puts it, his favorite part of the show is, “mak[ing] an absolute ass of [him]self and no one ask[ing] [him] to leave the premises.” For Around the World in 80 Days, running now until August 13, that was exactly the type of comedy Producing Artistic Director, Jared Reed (who plays Phileas Fogg) and Director Damon Bonetti were looking for in an actor.

“Damon is a dream to work with. He has a clear vision and knows the mathematics behind physical comedy to an absolute ‘T’. In my opinion, what I believe is more important in what Damon brings to a project is his willingness to let the actors invent and play with the material. Unless of course it’s terrible, then he’ll tell you it’s terrible (and that’s a great thing).”

This is the third time Bonetti and Swift have worked together, having previously explored No Sex Please, We’re British and Boeing Boeing. For Around the World in 80 Days, however, the script called for a new type of comedy.

“I think at its heart, the comedy of 80 Days comes from the sheer number of characters being played by a total of five actors. Of course, it helps that the jokes are well written, but when you add in the fact that the joke is being told by a character, played by an actor who was just wearing a totally different costume- it becomes a joke in and of itself.”

All the world’s a stage, literally, in this theatrical retelling of Verne’s classic, as Hedgerow Theatre Company’s small troupe of actors take on a global collection of carnival characters. Stampeding elephants, raging typhoons, runaway trains, and unabashed slapstick fill this farcical adventure from start to finish.

“Comedy is the best way to be open and honest. If you do comedy correctly, you can convey a potentially controversial opinion in a way that your audience will be more willing to accept it,” says Swift. “I find humor in most things, but to me, the funniest jokes are those you have to really look for. When a joke is hidden within the background to success that tells me that every aspect of joke telling has been put into play: The writers intended the joke, the director picked up on it, and the actors executed it. To me that’s the ultimate way to tell a joke.”

Swift is no stranger to this style of comedy, appearing in most of the Hedgerow comedies over the last two years as a Fellow. He has been seen in The Servant of Two Masters and Dracula, but most recently appeared in The Prisoner of Zenda and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, two shows that tested his versatility as an actor.

“Including 80 Days, all three shows had me playing several characters, and including me crossdressing in each (spoilers). It has been a challenge to keep my characters in 80 Days fresh and unique from what audiences may have seen as of recently.”

But Swift is not the only familiar face to return to Hedgerow for Around the World in 80 Days. Long time company member Zoran Kovcic (Boeing Boeing and No Sex Please, We’re British) joins Hanna Gaffney (Boeing Boeing) and Sarah Knittel (The Servant of Two Masters) to create a world of characters.

“In dramatic comedy, in most cases, you have an ensemble to back you up. Dramatic comedy is a team sport, in stand-up- most of the time- you are on your own. All of the challenges of comedy are present in both, although I am certain that audiences are less likely to heckle a group of performers rather than one individual.”

Adult ticket prices are $35, with a $3 discount for seniors. Tickets for those 30 and under, as well as for students, are $20. For groups of 10 or more, tickets are $18. Prices include all fees and are subject to change.

Shows are Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. There will be a Wednesday matinee on August 2, at 2 p.m., and Fogg’s adventure concludes on Sunday, August 13, at 2 p.m.

For reservations or more info, call 610-565-4211 or visit www.HedgerowTheatre.org. Hedgerow Theatre is located at 64 Rose Valley Road in Rose Valley (near Media).

Finding the Jeu of Jules Verne

When asked how you play multiple colorful characters in the upcoming Summer Farce Around the World in 80 Days actor Sarah Knittel said, “Find the jeu.”

Knittel is a graduate of the Pig Iron School of Physical and Devised Theater and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.  She appeared in last summer’s The Servant of Two Masters (Smeraldina), and has worked with Automatic Arts, Hella Fresh, Untitled Eva Steinmetz Project, Pig Iron, Idiopathic Ridiculopathy Consortium, and Philadelphia Shakespeare. She is the 2017 Automatic Arts Artist in Residence and is creator of  The Joseph Davenport Experience cabaret.  

“Jeu,” the French word for game, is a derivative of the Jacques Lecoq method of acting and is a core principal of Pig Iron’s training program. The idea is to always search for the play in a moment, to make the most of whatever material is available, theatrically, and bringing it to life in the moment, and in Jules Verne’s epic adventure, play is certainly a key component.

I’m drawn to these comedies because they are so technical. If your timing is off or  you’re not present, you might not get the laugh. That sweet sweet laughter. I love the challenge. Physical comedy transcends language and age…. But mostly for that sweet laughter,” said Knittel.

Stampeding elephants, raging typhoons, runaway trains, and unabashed slapstick fill Around the World in 80 Days from start to finish. Hedgerow Theatre tackles the challenge of Jules Verne’s epic adventure with its talented cast in its beautiful rustic setting and brings the joy and humour of Mark Brown’s adaptation to life.

Every role is different. Passepartout is such a clown it made the most sense to start with his physical rhythms and posture.”

Around the World in 80 Days returns familiar funny faces and puts them in an exciting, and incredibly silly, rollercoaster spectacle.  Danger, romance and comic surprises abound as five actors – portraying 42 characters – traverse four continents in this race against the clock. Zoran Kovcic (Boeing Boeing and No Sex Please, We’re British), Mark Swift (Boeing Beoing and No Sex Please, We’re British), Hanna Gaffney (Boeing Boeing), and Knittel take on the mountainous task of creating a world of characters.

“Hanna Gaffney is bringing so much heart and elegance to her performance of Aioda. Mark Swift is so funny that I want to kill him and wear his skin.  Jared Reed and Zoren are class acts…. especially Jared’s baby blues. Damon Bonetti is fine.”

Opening night is Friday, July 7, at 7:30 p.m. There will be a Wednesday matinee on August 2, at 2 p.m., and Fogg’s balloon lands for a final time on Sunday, August 13, at 2 p.m.

Adult ticket prices are $35, with a $3 discount for seniors. Tickets for those 30 and under, as well as for students, are $20. For groups of 10 or more, tickets are $18. Prices include all fees and are subject to change. For reservations or more info, call 610-565-4211 or visit www.HedgerowTheatre.org. Hedgerow Theatre is located at 64 Rose Valley Road in Rose Valley (near Media).

Hanna Gaffney Could Use a Good Laugh

“Traveling and sewing are good sources of meditation,” says actor Hanna Gaffney, who returns to Hedgerow Theatre Company this summer for Around the World in 80 Days. “I love to travel when I can. I am also a seamstress, so finding sewing projects is a good source of meditation. I also can hardly sleep at night because I’m so excited to decorate my room. That’s sort of lame, but you want answers, you got ‘em.”

Gaffney, who made her first appearance at Hedgerow last summer as Gabriella in Boeing Boeing,  plays Aouda and many others in the upcoming comedy. She is a proud graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and her most recent Philadelphia credits include Witness for the Prosecution (Dr. Wyatt) at Bristol Riverside Theatre and Spamalot (The Lady of the Lake) at Resident Theatre Company.

This summer, Mark Brown’s adaptation of Jules Verne’s classic adventure Around the World in 80 Days pits the intrepid adventurer Phileas Fogg, played by Producing Artistic Director Jared Reed, with his loyal valet, Passepartout, against time as they embark on a grand journey from Victorian London through Asia and across the Pacific in precisely 80 days.

“I love to play in the clowning world, and though not all of my characters live there, I’m excited to work to give specific life to each of them. I also really enjoy doing research on the productions I’m involved in, and learning more about each culture we fly through in 80 Days is going to be so fascinating,” said Gaffney.

Around the World in 80 Days returns familiar funny faces and puts them in an exciting, and incredibly silly, rollercoaster spectacle.  Danger, romance and comic surprises abound as five actors—portraying 42 characters—traverse four continents in this race against the clock.

“I love how much this show encompasses,” said Gaffney. “Besides, for all of the many countries and cultures, it also blends a fantastic and bombastic world with a still and heartfelt one. Plus I rarely get to play a romantic lead, and I’m very excited for the challenge.”

All the world’s a stage, literally, in this theatrical tour-de-force as Gaffney and company turn adventure and romance into a fun-filled evening of farce and slapstick.

We live in a world where any bit of comedy and heart we can sit and ruminate on for a while is something worth watching. We need to escape the current climate so we don’t fall into normality. Our bodies will adjust to that normality, and we may forget we can fight for what is right. We need these breaks of hilarity and entertainment.”

The first preview performance of Around the World in 80 Days is Wednesday, July 5, at 7:30 p.m. Opening night is Friday, July 7, at 7:30 p.m. There will be a Wednesday matinee on August 2, at 2 p.m., and Fogg’s balloon lands for a final time on Sunday, August 13, at 2 p.m.

Adult ticket prices are $35, with a $3 discount for seniors. Tickets for those 30 and under, as well as for students, are $20. For groups of 10 or more, tickets are $18. Prices include all fees and are subject to change. For reservations or more info, call 610-565-4211 or visit www.HedgerowTheatre.org. Hedgerow Theatre is located at 64 Rose Valley Road in Rose Valley (near Media).

 

Hedgerow Theatre’s Summer Comedy: Around the World in 80 Days

Hop aboard Phileas Fogg’s hot-air balloon as Hedgerow Theatre Company’s small troupe of actors take on a global collection of carnival characters in Mark Brown’s imaginative and theatrical re-imagining of Jules Verne’s 1873 adventure, Around the World in 80 Days, running July 6 to August 13. All the world’s a stage, literally, in this theatrical tour-de-force.

It is directed by master farceur Damon Bonetti, who helmed the Hedgerow’s phenomenally popular production of Patrick Barlow’s The 39 Steps, as well as the hit summer farces Boeing Boeing and No Sex Please, We’re British.

Around the World in 80 Days returns familiar funny faces and puts them in an exciting, and incredibly silly, rollercoaster spectacle.  Danger, romance and comic surprises abound as five actors portraying 42 characters traverse four continents in this race against the clock. Zoran Kovcic (Boeing Boeing and No Sex Please, We’re British), Mark Swift (Boeing Beoing and No Sex Please, We’re British), Hanna Gaffney (Boeing Boeing), and Sarah Knittel (The Servant of Two Masters) take on the mountainous task of creating a world of characters.

“It’s a fantastic adventure story with wonderful characters, but it’s also the story about the breaking down of barriers – both literally and figuratively – as an appreciation is gained of other cultures and Fogg learns how to care and to love others,” said Bonetti. “It’s a fun, fastpaced, exciting adventure – full of quick changes and quirky characters – a classic summertime farce – destined to become a Hedgerow favorite.”

The intrepid adventurer Phileas Fogg, played by Producing Artistic Director Jared Reed, with his loyal valet, Passepartout, agrees to an outrageous wager that puts his life and fortune at risk, as he embarks on a grand journey from Victorian London through Asia and across the Pacific in precisely 80 days.

“My first memory of this story was reading it at 10 years old. I love this adaptation. It captures that feeling from my youth. It is funny and adventurous and a great challenge for five actors….It’s humorous, romantic, and as witty as it is silly,” said Reed.

Stampeding elephants, raging typhoons, runaway trains, and unabashed slapstick fill this farcical adventure from start to finish. Hedgerow Theatre tackles the challenge of Verne’s epic adventure with its talented cast in its beautiful rustic setting and brings the joy and humour of Brown’s adaptation to life.

“How do we travel across the world on stage and keep a story moving forward, allowing the humor of the piece to be honest? That’s what we are attempting to find out,” said Reed.

The first preview performance of Around the World in 80 Days is Wednesday, July 5, at 7:30 p.m. Opening night is Friday, July 7, at 7:30 p.m. There will be a Wednesday matinee on August 2, at 2 p.m., and Fogg’s balloon lands for a final time on Sunday, August 13, at 2 p.m.

Adult ticket prices are $35, with a $3 discount for seniors. Tickets for those 30 and under, as well as for students, are $20. For groups of 10 or more, tickets are $18. Prices include all fees and are subject to change. For reservations or more info, call 610-565-4211 or visit www.HedgerowTheatre.org. Hedgerow Theatre is located at 64 Rose Valley Road in Rose Valley (near Media).

Damon Bonetti Farceur Extraordinaire

Damon Bonetti is the Co-Founding Artistic Director of The Philadelphia Artist’s Collective and a Adjunct Professor at Rutgers University in Camden, Drexel University, and Rowan University.  He is excited to be back in the Hedgerows where he has directed the last three summer farces, The 39 Steps, No Sex Please, We’re British, and Boeing Boeing.  

“This play is a ton of fun, a true adventure! I’m interested in how these five actors interpret these roles and how to find the best world for them to inhabit,” says Bonetti.

Damon has directed or acted at many of the area theaters and received Barrymore nominations for True Story at Passage Theater (Director), Orange Flower Water at Luna Theater (Supporting Actor)  and The Hound of the Baskervilles at Lantern Theater (Ensemble).

He recently directed the Philadelphia Artists’ Collective production of The White Devil, with Jared Reed as Duke Brachianno, and appeared in All’s Well That Ends Well.  He holds an M.F.A. from Florida State University /Asolo Theatre and a Bachelor of Arts from DeSales University.

He’s spent the past three summer’s in Rose Valley making people laugh with farces, and this summer will be no different. He loves the intimacy of the audience that Hedgerow offers and the connection to its patrons.

“There’s no prettier place outside nor funnier inside than Hedgerow Theatre,” says Bonetti, “[and] the collective shared experience that those people have – hearing the laughs, gasps and groans is why we do this.”

The first preview performance of Around the World in 80 Days is Wednesday, July 5, at 7:30 p.m. Opening night is Friday, July 7, at 7:30 p.m. There will be a Wednesday matinee on August 2, at 2 p.m., and Fogg’s balloon lands for a final time on Sunday, August 13, at 2 p.m.

Adult ticket prices are $35, with a $3 discount for seniors. Tickets for those 30 and under, as well as for students, are $20. For groups of 10 or more, tickets are $18. Prices include all fees and are subject to change. For reservations or more info, call 610-565-4211 or visit www.HedgerowTheatre.org. Hedgerow Theatre is located at 64 Rose Valley Road in Rose Valley (near Media).