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Arts/Culture

Theater Talk: Scott Behrend of Road Less Traveled, first to cancel, first to announce new season

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Back in March, with a hit show (HAND TO GOD) in his theater, Road Less Traveled Productions' Artistic and Executive Director Scott Behrend moved swiftly and decisively to shut it down due to COVID, and now, just as swiftly and decisively, has announced a full season starting on November 4, 2021.

The upcoming season, later than Shea's plan to re-open in September, makes RLTP the first local theater to announce a full season, albeit with 4 plays instead of the usual 5. Behrend says that this will give RLTP the ability to extend each play's run, should future regulations limit attendance on any given evening.

As with all theaters, it's financially necessary to achieve 100% of planned ticket sales. Hopefully that will mean 100% of the audience seats will be filled on any given night, but if 100% of necessary ticket sales have to be spread out over more time, the organization can handle that.

In the meantime, Behrend says that the shutdown has given everyone the opportunity to improve the new theater, not only for the audience, but for the actors and crew. They have consolidated storage and now have a dedicated rehearsal space which Behrend says the actors will very much appreciate.

In addition to the extra productions that RLTP is known for, including a "Screen to Stage" reading of a movie script, a series of 10-minute plays this season with a "Star Wars" theme, and a continuation of
"Buffalo Stories: The Life of Robert Gioia" the season, as announced, is this:

HAND TO GOD
By Robert Askins
Directed by John Hurley, this play opened on March 5, 2021 and was shut down due to COVID after rave reviews but will re-open November 4, 2021 with all of the original cast - starring Dan Urtz, Jenn Stafford, John Kreuzer, Henry Farleo and Maura Coseglia - at Road Less Traveled Theater, 456 Main Street (629-3069). www.roadlesstraveledproductions.org

In brief: To help recently widowed Margery overcome her grief, fundamentalist Pastor Greg suggests that she start a puppet club at their Cypress, Texas church so that the teenagers can put on Biblical stories. Her son Jason, who is also grieving for his father, makes a hand puppet called Tyrone who soon takes on a life of his own. Tyrone says things that are possibly better left unsaid, then takes on a devilish personality, attacking people and property. Tyrone is "lewd, profane, combative, and refuses to leave Jason’s arm.”

TRIBES
By Nina Raines
Directed by Doug Zschiegner
January 13 – February 6, 2021

In brief: Billy is the only deaf member of a loving yet dysfunctional family who raised him as part of the hearing world.  When Billy meets Sylvia, a young woman on the brink of deafness, he finally starts to learn when it means to be heard. With insight, humor, and an eclectic cast of characters, Tribes questions how we define community, family, and belonging.

BREADCRUMBS
By Jennifer Haley
Directed by Scott Behrend
March 3 – 27, 2021

In brief: A brilliant, reclusive writer is diagnosed with dementia and must rely on an untrustworthy caretaker to tell her final story--an autobiography.  For the fiercely private Alida, such dependence doesn’t come easily, but in order to make peace with her future she must first go into the dark woods of her past.  Dark, playful, and mysterious, this play on the modern fairy tale shatters notions of language, loneliness, and identity.

LITTLE WOMEN NOW
An adaptation by Donna Hoke
April 21 – May 15, 2022

In brief: Donna Hoke has taken the classic coming-of-age novel by American novelist Louisa May Alcott and updated it for our time.

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