The Story of Ebenezer Scrooge begins Nov. 24

A miserly old man named Ebenezer Scrooge sits in his counting-house on Christmas Eve. His clerk, Bob Cratchit, shivers in the anteroom because Scrooge refuses to spend money on heating coals for a fire. Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, pays his uncle a visit and invites him to his annual Christmas party. Scrooge spits the now infamous, “Bah!Humbug!” in response to his nephew’s “Merry Christmas!”

Later that evening, after returning to his dark, cold apartment, Scrooge receives a chilling visit from the ghost of his dead partner, Jacob Marley. Marley, looking haggard and pallid, relates his unfortunate story. As punishment for his greedy and self-serving life, his spirit has been condemned to wander the Earth, weighted down with heavy chains. Marley informs Scrooge that three spirits will visit him during each of the next three nights. After the wraith disappears, Scrooge collapses into a deep sleep.

He wakes moments before the arrival of the Ghost of Christmas Past, a strange childlike phantom with a brightly glowing head. The spirit escorts Scrooge on a journey into the past to previous Christmases from the curmudgeon’s earlier years. Invisible to those he watches, Scrooge revisits his childhood school days, his apprenticeship with a jolly merchant named Fezziwig, and his engagement to Belle, a woman who leaves Scrooge because his lust for money eclipses his ability to love another. Scrooge, deeply moved, sheds tears of regret before the phantom returns him to his bed.

The Ghost of Christmas Present, a majestic giant clad in a green fur robe, takes Scrooge through London to unveil Christmas as it will happen that year. Scrooge watches the large, bustling Cratchit family prepare a miniature feast in their meager home. He discovers Bob Cratchit’s crippled son, Tiny Tim, a courageous boy whose kindness and humility warms Scrooge’s heart. The specter then zips Scrooge to his nephew’s to witness the Christmas party. Toward the end of the day, he shows Scrooge two starved children, Ignorance and Want, living under his coat. He vanishes instantly as Scrooge notices a dark, hooded figure coming toward him.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come leads Scrooge through a sequence of mysterious scenes relating to an unnamed man’s recent death. Scrooge sees businessmen discussing the dead man’s riches, some vagabonds trading his personal effects for cash, and a poor couple expressing relief at the death of their unforgiving creditor. Scrooge, anxious to learn the lesson of his latest visitor, begs to know the name of the dead man. After pleading with the ghost, Scrooge finds himself in a churchyard, the spirit pointing to a grave. Scrooge looks at the headstone and is shocked to read his own name. He desperately implores the spirit to alter his fate, promising to renounce his insensitive, avaricious ways and to honor Christmas with all his heart when he suddenly finds himself safely tucked in his bed.

Overwhelmed with joy by the chance to redeem himself and grateful that he has been returned to Christmas Day, Scrooge rushes out onto the street hoping to share his newfound Christmas spirit. He sends a giant Christmas turkey to the Cratchit house and attends Fred’s party. As the years go by, he holds true to his promise and honors Christmas with all his heart.

An Original Experience Fueled with Tastes of Christmas Past

Hedgerow Theatre continues its holiday tradition with its 25th annual production of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which runs from November 24 to December 24, with Artistic Director Jared Reed at the helm.

A miserly old man named Ebenezer Scrooge sits in his counting-house on Christmas Eve. His clerk, Bob Cratchit, shivers in the anteroom because Scrooge refuses to spend money on heating coals for a fire. Later that evening, after returning to his dark, cold apartment, Scrooge receives a chilling visit from the ghost of his dead partner, Jacob Marley. Marley, looking haggard and pallid, relates his unfortunate story. As punishment for his greedy and self-serving life, his spirit has been condemned to wander the Earth weighted down with heavy chains. Marley informs Scrooge that three spirits will visit him during each of the next three nights. After the wraith disappears, Scrooge collapses into a deep sleep.

Reed has directed the production for the previous two seasons, as well as serving as adaptor and designer. His adaptation remains faithful to Dickens’ tale of the redemption of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserable, selfish miser whose heart is transformed after he is visited by a series of spirits on Christmas Eve.

“I began to revisit it after I did my one-man show based on Dickens’ reading version, so I decided to to go back to the source material. The dialogue is all true to the original, and the cast will still sing Christmas carols throughout the show.”

Scrooge wakes moments before the arrival of the Ghost of Christmas Past, a strange childlike phantom with a brightly glowing head. The spirit escorts Scrooge on a journey into the past to previous Christmases from the curmudgeon’s earlier years. The Ghost of Christmas Present, a majestic giant clad in a green fur robe, takes Scrooge through London to unveil Christmas as it will happen that year.The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come leads Scrooge through a sequence of mysterious scenes relating to an unnamed man’s recent death.

“The set and basic story will all be familiar,” he confirmed “because it’s a classic just as it is. It isn’t a rewrite, per se, just a script that better suits our company.”

After pleading with the ghost, Scrooge finds himself in a churchyard, the spirit pointing to a grave. Scrooge looks at the headstone and is shocked to read his own name. He desperately implores the spirit to alter his fate, promising to renounce his insensitive, avaricious ways and to honor Christmas with all his heart when he suddenly finds himself safely tucked in his bed. Overwhelmed with joy by the chance to redeem himself and grateful that he has been returned to Christmas Day, Scrooge rushes out onto the street hoping to share his newfound Christmas spirit.

Because of a large number of performances, there are teams of actors to accommodate their schedules and to allow them to play different parts to enhance their experience. Scrooge will be portrayed in all shows by Hedgerow veteran and perennial favorite Zoran Kovcic.

There are still a few dates available to book special performances for schools or other groups. To arrange a time, contact Group Sales Director Art Hunter at 610-565-4211.

Adult ticket prices are $35, with a $3 discount for seniors. Tickets for those ages 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).

25th Annual Christmas Carol Begins November 24

Carve up the turkey, plan those online shopping deals, and get ready for the most magical time of the year at Hedgerow Theatre. On November 24, Hedgerow Theatre kicks off its 25th annual Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

“A Christmas Carol is a timeless story of the redemption of a man to his better self – we choose to shut ourselves off from our humanity, and we can choose to embrace it,” said adaptor and director Jared Reed.

Professional Actors are joined by over 32 members of our community to make Hedgerow Theatre’s Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol a part of the Holidays you cannot miss. Decked with all your favorite Christmas carols, in our 1800s grist mill theatre, the Hedgerow experience is one that you will never forget.

“Hedgerow has a long history of performing Dickens – 25 years of A Christmas Carol, and numerous productions of his other stories such as Oliver – and the theatre itself, an 1840’s grist mill, is perfect for Dickens and creating a Victorian London.”

Dickens’ story was first published in London on December 19,1843 and the first edition sold out by Christmas Eve. A Christmas Carol tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, an old miser, who is visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come.

Dickens captured the zeitgeist of the mid-Victorian revival of the Christmas holiday. He  influenced the modern Western observance of Christmas and inspired several aspects of Christmas, such as family gatherings, seasonal food and drink, dancing, games and a festive generosity of spirit.

“Hedgerow prides itself on telling great stories. We have been bringing people together to share in the power of an ensemble troupe of actors performing for an engaged audience since 1923.  A Christmas Carol is who we strive to be all year round.”

Relive the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge, laugh with all the Cratchits, and journey through space and time with the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come as merriment and mirth fill your heart with joy.

The first performance of A Christmas Carol is Friday, November 24, at 7:30 p.m. There will be Wednesday matinees on December 13 and 20, at 2 p.m., as well as special performances Monday 18, Tuesday 19, and Wednesday 20 at 7:30 p.m.

Adult ticket prices are $35, with a $3 discount for seniors. Tickets for those ages 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).

 

The Story of A Christmas Carol

Twenty-five years ago Hedgerow Theatre began telling one of the most timeless stories ever written: Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. 

A miserly old man named Ebenezer Scrooge sits in his counting-house on Christmas Eve. His clerk, Bob Cratchit, shivers in the anteroom because Scrooge refuses to spend money on heating coals for a fire. Scrooge’s nephew, Fred, pays his uncle a visit and invites him to his annual Christmas party. Scrooge spits the now infamous, “Bah!Humbug!” in response to his nephew’s “Merry Christmas!”

Later that evening, after returning to his dark, cold apartment, Scrooge receives a chilling visit from the ghost of his dead partner, Jacob Marley. Marley, looking haggard and pallid, relates his unfortunate story. As punishment for his greedy and self-serving life, his spirit has been condemned to wander the Earth, weighted down with heavy chains. Marley informs Scrooge that three spirits will visit him during each of the next three nights. After the wraith disappears, Scrooge collapses into a deep sleep.

He wakes moments before the arrival of the Ghost of Christmas Past, a strange childlike phantom with a brightly glowing head. The spirit escorts Scrooge on a journey into the past to previous Christmases from the curmudgeon’s earlier years. Invisible to those he watches, Scrooge revisits his childhood school days, his apprenticeship with a jolly merchant named Fezziwig, and his engagement to Belle, a woman who leaves Scrooge because his lust for money eclipses his ability to love another. Scrooge, deeply moved, sheds tears of regret before the phantom returns him to his bed.

The Ghost of Christmas Present, a majestic giant clad in a green fur robe, takes Scrooge through London to unveil Christmas as it will happen that year. Scrooge watches the large, bustling Cratchit family prepare a miniature feast in their meager home. He discovers Bob Cratchit’s crippled son, Tiny Tim, a courageous boy whose kindness and humility warms Scrooge’s heart. The specter then zips Scrooge to his nephew’s to witness the Christmas party. Toward the end of the day, he shows Scrooge two starved children, Ignorance and Want, living under his coat. He vanishes instantly as Scrooge notices a dark, hooded figure coming toward him.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come leads Scrooge through a sequence of mysterious scenes relating to an unnamed man’s recent death. Scrooge sees businessmen discussing the dead man’s riches, some vagabonds trading his personal effects for cash, and a poor couple expressing relief at the death of their unforgiving creditor. Scrooge, anxious to learn the lesson of his latest visitor, begs to know the name of the dead man. After pleading with the ghost, Scrooge finds himself in a churchyard, the spirit pointing to a grave. Scrooge looks at the headstone and is shocked to read his own name. He desperately implores the spirit to alter his fate, promising to renounce his insensitive, avaricious ways and to honor Christmas with all his heart when he suddenly finds himself safely tucked in his bed.

Overwhelmed with joy by the chance to redeem himself and grateful that he has been returned to Christmas Day, Scrooge rushes out onto the street hoping to share his newfound Christmas spirit. He sends a giant Christmas turkey to the Cratchit house and attends Fred’s party. As the years go by, he holds true to his promise and honors Christmas with all his heart.

This year marks teh 25th Anniversary of Hedgerow’s production with Producing Artistic Director Jared Reed adapting and directing Dickens’ masterful holiday tale. Shows begin November 24 and run through December 24.

Tales from Poe Opens for the Public This Weekend

by Matthew Windham

Tales from Poe has gone through many iterations over the years. For myself and the rest of the new Acting Fellows, it became clear to us almost as soon as we looked at the scripts from previous productions, that it would be the most satisfying for us create our own new adaptation of Poe’s works that was tailored to our particular ensemble. Thankfully, the Hedgerow Acting Fellowship gives us room to nurture many parts of our creative personalities, and Jared Reed was quick to encourage me to take on the project of writing a new script.

I had a great time doing the research for the play, learning about Poe’s life, re-reading some of his stories, and reading others for the first time. I was very familiar with “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Raven,” which must be the very best-known of Poe’s works – and for good reason: they’re both perfect in their construction, and hauntingly memorable in the tales they tell, and the characters they present. “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “The Black Cat” were familiar to me, at least in a vague way. “The Cask of Amontillado,” “Ligeia” and “William Wilson,” meanwhile, were entirely new to me. And there were numerous other Poe stories which we chose not to dramatize that I explored as part of the writing process, bits and pieces of which I used in the Poe interludes that occur throughout the play.

The stickiest part of writing a play based on any story by Poe is that he generally wrote heaps of narration, with very little dialogue. It is not impossible, of course, to have an actor (or actors) perform a scene while narrating it, and past versions of the play have taken that approach at times. But I challenged myself to find ways of eschewing narration as often as possible. Sometimes it was a matter of adapting it directly into dialogue, adjusting it subtly to make it conversational. In “Tell-Tale Heart” it becomes more of an internal dialogue. In “The Black Cat” I decided that much of what was important could simply be shown rather than told. I was lucky to have a game director in Jared, who helped me work out how to actually make those stylistic choices successful dramatically, and who did a lot to shape the script that we finally used.

As a playwright it’s also been gratifying to watch the other actors who appear in the show – Owen Corey, Lisa VillaMil and Susan Wefel – take it upon themselves to tell these stories with clarity and commitment. Jared’s scenic elements, the sound design by Kate Sparacio, the lighting design by Ari Baker, and the props and production design by Essie Windham all contribute importantly to the textures of the play, and the functionality of the stage on which it takes place.

The best thing of all for a playwright, though, is experiencing the reactions of an audience to one’s creation. Our Jr. High and High School audiences have been very receptive and engaged, and excited to talk with us about the show afterward. We’re looking forward to bringing our work to the general public on November 2nd-4th at 8PM.

Penelope Reed to be Awarded Barrymore October 30

In Philadelphia, no one has started more careers than Penelope Reed. Now more than 25 years after starting her career with Hedgerow, 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.

Penelope Reed as Madame Arcati in Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit with Stacy Skinner.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is a Barrymore award designed to honor “individuals who have made substantial contributions to the life of the Philadelphia theatre community over a significant length of time.  Nominees can be from any area of the theatre field or philanthropy.”

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, theatergoers, 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.

“We look for candidates whose work has been a vital part of the Philadelphia theatre community, whose work has made the community richer in some way and who has influenced generations of artists, audiences, and companies,” said Jennifer Childs, Chair of the Lifetime Achievement Award Committee.

Each year nominations are solicited from the community.  Nominees do not nominate themselves and, very often, do not even know they are being nominated.  There is a panel of artists from the community who then review the nominations and decide on an honoree.

Ms. Reed as Madame Arcati

“We chose Penelope for several reasons…in looking at that list of past winners, so many of them got their start and/or worked at Hedgerow.  It has been one of the cornerstones of this community before there even was a theatre community.  Penelope’s leadership was integral to carrying forward the legacy and vision of her mother.  This felt like the right year to honor her as she recently transferred that leadership role to her son Jared.   That theatre and all it stands for is a wonderful legacy,” said Childs.

Previous winners include Albert Benzwie, Kitty Minehardt, Doug Wing, Frank CP McGlinn, John Allen, Adele Magner, Kaki Marshall, Marcia Salvatore, Tom McCarthy, Louis Lippa, James J. Christy, Robert Hedley, Carole Haas Gravagno, Dolly Beechman Schnall, Dugald MacArthur, Ted and Stevie Woolf, Harry Dietzler, Jiri Zizka, Ceal Phelan, Carla Belver, Johnnie Hobbs Jr., and Sara Garonzik.

“The one hand that selflessly influenced so many theatre artists in the Delaware Valley during this epoch… You’d be blessed to know her. A humble legend.  Penelope Reed, all the love!”

–  Kirk Wendell Brown, Actor and Friend

Ms. Reed’s illustrious career and Hedgerow connections extend back into her youth.  A fourth generation professional theatre actor on her father’s side, Reed worked in her teens playing many roles locally with the Wilmington Drama League, the Brandywiners, and at the Robin Hood Equity Summer Stock Theatre.  After winning a full summer acting scholarship to Colorado’s Perry-Mansfield School of Theatre and Dance, she began her senior year in High School, and her family moved to Rose Valley.  Her mother, Janet Kelsey, would become a cherished member of the Hedgerow company as leading actress, director, teacher, business manager, managing director and long-term board member at Hedgerow.

In November, a month after her father, Jared Reed,  died, Ms. Reed and her mother Janet Kelsey began studying Advanced Acting with founder Jasper Deeter.  Miss Reed has had the great fortune over the years to study with significant Hedgerow instructors, including Richard Brewer, Delores Tanner, Ralph Roseman and Rose Schulman.  

Little did Ms. Reed know that many years later, she would return to the “intrepid HedgerowTheatre” as its Producing Artistic Director, reviving the theatre to national prominence and, like Jasper himself, creating new theatre artists along the way.

“When Penn first arrived at Hedgerow as the leader in 1990, I was saying whenever tech week and hard work for the season of mainstage plays rolled around, “Hell week at Hedgerow High” in a frustrated manner! Penn would say positively, “Week of opportunity!” I knew I was in for a great ride!”

Susan Wefel, fellow actor, board member, and company member

At 18 with her union card in hand, she headed off to four years at Carnegie Institute of 

Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University). In Fall 1963, during her freshman Thanksgiving break from college, Ms. Reed came home to Rose Valley for the holiday, expecting rest and relaxation; however, after the actress playing Cora in Iceman Cometh had been an accident and couldn’t play. The company sought Penelope to learn the part in an afternoon.

With director Louis Lippa in the wings coaching her between scenes, Ms. Reed performed the part without a book.  Hedgerow flew her in the next and final weekend to finish the run.  Carnegie training introduced a technique to complement the extraordinary Hedgerow approach to truthful acting.  After four challenging and glorious years Reed graduated with a BFA honors and received the RCA/NBC most valuable senior award.

Immediately after college, she took leading roles Cleveland’s Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival, followed by a 12-year tenure as leading actress, director, teacher and playwright at The Milwaukee Repertory Theatre.

While there she played such roles as Blanche Dubois in Streetcar Named Desire, the title role

Ms. Reed as Madame Aracti

 of Mary Stuart, Winnie in Beckett’s Happy Days, Helena in A Midummser NIght’s Dream and many other roles. During the time she taught acting and speech at the University of Wisconsin,  founded both the Pac Players and the Summit Festival Theatre, and served as Alverno College Drama Department Chair and Director of the Robert G. Pitman Theatre.

She immersed herself in civic endeavors, reaching out to inner-city youths, guiding teachers on the infusion of theatre to enhance existing curricula. While in Milwaukee she branched out to play Laura in The Glass Menagerie with Maureen Stapleton in Chicago’s Drury Lane Theatre, which brought the Williams classic to Philadelphia’s Playhouse in the Park.  While in Milwaukee Reed received her MA in Speech and Directing from Marquette University.

She has directed over 100 plays and taught at Carnegie-Mellon, Grinnell, the University of Wisconsin, Marquette University, and the Princeton Theological Seminary.  Ms. Reed has served on the Wisconsin and New Jersey State Councils on the Arts, where she has been instrumental in the development of pilot programs in theatre education.

As a leading member of the McCarter Theatre for six years, she played such parts as Hannah Jelkes in Night of the Iguana, Emily Dickinson in The Belle of Amherst, Winnie in Happy Days  she started the Shakespeare Summer of teens, joined the Princeton Theological Seminary speech faculty, and served as master Acting instructor at the theatre.  

She also started New Jersey Dept. Ed. pilot projects for teachers teaching theatre arts in basic curricular studies.in theatre arts. In 1985 she began as Director of the Allan P. Kirby Theatre and Drama Chair at The Lawrenceville School, where after 12 years Vanity Fair chose Hedgerow as the top prep school for theatre in the country.  She had also served as Chair of Drama and director of the Robert G. Pitman Theatre at Alverno College.

“To work with Penny, one is constantly astonished at her unflagging energy, relentlessly fertile mental searching, and most of all, her untainted positivity. For Penelope Reed, whatever it is is always possible, and always excites her in the effort. Congratulations”

– Tom Teti, friend, and collaborator  

After the devastating fire of 1985, Ms. Reed participated in the company’s and community’s efforts to restore the theatre, including presenting her performance of Women of Heart that opened the shell of the theater in December 1990, serving as board-appointed Artistic Consultant in 1991 and in 1992 Producing Artistic Director 1992.

Ms. Reed as Madame Aracti

With her mother, long-time Hedgerow icon, Janet Kelsey, returning as business manager, husband as general manager, and the industrious, creative company, Ms. Reed took the helm of Hedgerow, bringing her years of experience to Hedgerow to build a company with intent to return the theatre back to its National standing as a theatre of excellence and an incubator of talent, works of art and spawning theaters.

Crucial to the task was bringing forward the next generations 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.  

The Collaborative Company has been able to assemble an amazing series of passionate company members, board members, community leaders, audience members and patrons, who brought about the rebuilding of the theatre, the  reigniting of the educational programs and the strengthening of the company mindset of Hedgerow by reinvigorating the emerging artist fellowship program, the institution of professional theatre artists to work with emerging artists and major Philadelphia veterans working under both Equity Guest Artist and and SPT contracts.

Hedgerow in the city featured a three-play repertory including the World Premiere of Richard Wilbur’s Don Juan in Hell; Love Letters with Suzanne Roberts; and The Bell of Amherst.  Later, The Lives of Bosie, winner of the Barrymore Award for Outstanding new play, moved from Hedgerow to Philadelphia.

Ms. Reed pictured with her son Jared Reed as well as fellow actors Michael Fuchs (left) and Stacy Skinner (right)

Ms. Reed has also twice made the foray to Bristol Riverside Theatre to play Gertrude in director Douglas Campbell’s Hamlet and Leading Lady in Moon Over Buffalo.  Reciprocating, Bristol’s Keith Baker directed his wife and Barrymore nominee Jo Twiss in Dancing at Lughnasa, and Susan Atkinson directed Demetria Bailey as Ethel Waters in His Eye is on the Sparrow.  

International playwright and director, Nagle Jackson, annually brought a new play to the Hedgerow stage. For an anniversary writing  Kafka in the Hedgerows, featuring Jared Reed, Penelope Reed, Zoran Kovcic, Susan Wefel and fellows in a world premiere celebrating Hedgerow’s beginnings.

In short, Hedgerow changed from a burned-down shell of a building with a great history, back into a professional theatre with an identity both for theatre production and education.  Penelope believes the collaborative efforts created a platform that has led to Hedgerow’s current dynamic thrust under the Artistic Leadership of Jared Reed. In its 95th year Hedgerow is alive building its tradition of “Making a Scene since 1923”.

“I love directing Pen. She is one of those wonderful actors who drives you crazy in all the right ways – constantly questioning choices and moments and words, always digging deeper and pushing farther. When an actor is talented, it’s easy for them to coast on their gifts and experience. Penn is a shining example of the rigor and drive to excellence we all want to have and preserve in ourselves as artists. Plus she’s a lovely human and she laughs at all my jokes. I’m delighted the community is recognizing her years of service to young artists and her lifelong devotion to the craft of acting!”

Kittson O’Neill, director of On the Verge and Uncle Vanya

Today, Ms. Reed is a Director Emeritus at Hedgerow Theatre, serving as both an actor and an artistic consultant. The company is now led by her son, Jared Reed, who is following his mother’s example and strengthening the core company of the theatre.

Ms. Reed featured with her grandchildren Sebastian and Quentin Reed, her son and Producing Artistic Director Jared Reed, and her mother Janet Kelsey

Ms. Reed is appearing as Madame Arcati alongside her son until October 29 in the fall thriller, Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit.

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

 

Former Company Member Mark Swift Makes the Leap from Stage to Ears

Former Hedgerow fellow Mark Swift is making his transition from the stage to the airwaves with his independent company “Oh, The Fool.” The first project of Oh, The Fool is Life In Sonderville, which found its original audience at Hedgerow Theatre Company.

Life In Sonderville is a daunting story to write because of its choose your own adventure nature and will boast a whopping ninety seven episodes. If that already makes your head spin as an audience member, don’t fret: the story is broken down into chapters and each path only takes seven to ten sections to complete. Therefore,  a one time listener can fully engage in this dark comedic mystery in just over an hour.

During his time as a fellow, Swift came up with the idea of a choose your own adventure story, bringing an interactive element to both stage and podcasts, and combining the two mediums into performance.

After being given the go-ahead by Producing Artistic Director, Jared Reed, to pen a rough pilot for Life In Sonderville, Swift made the first steps on his new journey.

Thanks to his training at Hedgerow, Swift feels prepared for any eventuality. Having adapted stories for the stage, Swift learned about the importance of being a concise and compelling storyteller.

A particularly useful skill that Swift gained from his Hedgerow experience came from his time as an actor, where he learned the mastery of the verb. As an actor and storyteller, it is more important to show rather than to tell. However, if you are going to say, then emphasize the verbs.

Swift uses these skills in his writing of Life In Sonderville. As the show is written for radio, the visual medium is gone, and since it is a play, there is nothing but dialogue. The result is a dialogue that is active, informative, and most importantly, entertaining.

Currently, Oh, The Fool is running a Kickstarter for the production of Life In Sonderville. With the success of its Kickstarter, Swift hopes to honor his Hedgerow home with the fully first few episodes of Life In Sonderville, later this month to be enjoyed online!