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"The Night Alive:" Great Theater Now At Guild Hall

T.J. Clemente

Rob DiSario as Kenneth in The Night Alive. (Photo: Dane DuPuis)

The Night Alive, a play by Conor McPherson, is now being presented at Guild Hall in East Hampton until Sunday, May 22nd. Directed by Stephen Hamilton and produced by Ellen Myers, here is an amazing opportunity to experience affordable entertainment featuring the highest quality acting in an authentic small-audience intimate "black box" theater set-up at Guild Hall; all for the cost of only $35 per ticket.

The "black box" set-up is actually on the Guild Hall stage where all 78 seats literally circle the set, a one-room apartment. This configuration enables everyone in the audience to see and hear everything without the use of microphones or theater spyglasses. McPherson's script is modern with cellphone and text references yet it blends in the feel of the classic poverty of inner Dublin that still exists today. There are only five actors who are on and off stage constantly during the approximately 1 hour 45 minutes play, which has no intermission. So be prepared to not be able to move about for nearly two hours. However, I must admit, the fast paced action, energy flow, and smooth dialogue had me surprised when it was over and that it was so lengthy. Thank God we had the most comfortable of seats. Director Stephen Hamilton's mother in-law, the legendary singer-actress, Julie Andrews sat but eight feet to my left with her daughter and her family.

Molly Carden as Aimee. (Photo: Dane DuPuis)

The plot revolves around the usual rescue, persecutor, and victim triangle with almost all the characters at one point being the rescuer, persecutor, and the victim. These themes are what my playwright wife Cindi Sansone-Braff says are the building blocks of most plays.

The cast consists of Tuck Mulligan (Maurice, the widowed uncle owner of the home and apartment), Kevin O'Rourke (Tommy, the nephew of Morris and occupant of the apartment where the entire play takes place in), Molly Carden (Aimee, a homeless prostitute), J. Stephen Brantley (Doc, the mentally challenged friend and employee of Kenneth) and Rob DiSanto (Kenneth, the villain pimp).

Kevin O'Rourke as Tommy, J.Stephen Brantley as Doc, and Molly Carden. (Photo: Dane DuPuis)

I thought actor J. Stephen Brantley gave the strongest performance, but all of the actors were brilliant. I always give a shout out to Josh Gladstone, who is one of the special people who keeps bringing quality live performances to the John Drew Theater as Artistic Director. I also feel the need to thank Ellen Myers, The Hilaria and Alec Baldwin Foundation along with Joanna Rose for sponsoring the production.

I conclude as I began: Don't miss this opportunity to witness affordable professional live theater on the East End.

Guild Hall is located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. For more information, call 631-324-0806 or visit www.guildhall.org.

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