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INTERVIEW: Director Colin Palmer On "Wolf Hall" At North Fork Community Theatre

T.J. Clemente

Prior to its North Fork Community Theatre (NFCT) debut on Friday, March 6, Hamptons.com had the opportunity to speak with Colin Palmer, who is directing Wolf Hall, a novel by Hilary Mantel adapted into a play by Mike Poulton.

The play takes place in England, 1527, a time when Henry VIII still doesn't have a male heir. The kingdom is ready to explode in a powder keg of political and religious unrest. Wolf Hall is the thrilling story of the rise of Thomas Cromwell, advisor to the king, mercenary, and ruthless Machiavellian.

I asked Palmer why Wolf Hall for NFCT? He replied it's a relatively recent play based on a 2009 novel, Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel that won a Man Booker Prize award for the best original novel written in the English language and published in the United Kingdom. The Royal Shakespeare Theater adapted it to a stage play and then brought it to New York, and at the same time, Masterpiece Theater did a production too.

Palmer said, "I thought it would be perfect to do now at the NFCT, because it is unlike anything ever done at that theater. Normally, NFCT does musicals with large casts and plays with small cast with four to five actors. Wolf Hall has a cast of over 20 actors. "I casted from amazing talent and we have a real mix from the various theater companies in Greenport, Riverhead, and, of course, the NFCT mainstays. It's a great, skilled cast. I am enjoying watching them use their talents to make this show something special. I thought Wolf Hall was the perfect show to try something new."

Palmer explained there are many plays about Henry VIII but, "none like this one, dealing with this part of his life this way. It's funny how the more I researched the play, I saw things that were going on politically then that are going on politically now."

The Director is a native East Ender and theater veteran. "I am from Riverhead, I have done a lot of show at NFCT, and in the past, when I was in high school, I did a few of the youths on stage shows," he shared. "After high school, where I did shows also, I graduated from Stony Brook with a Theater Degree. Since then, I have directed a lot of shows around the North Fork. Wolf Hall will be the tenth show that I directed."

So, finally, I had to ask, why the title Wolf Hall? Palmer admitted it is a place where none of the show takes place. "It's the name of Jane Seymour's (Henry VIII's third wife) father's home. There are scenes there in the novel, but not in the adaptation we are using," he relayed.

He asked me to mention the team working hard to make Wolf Hall a successful show. They are Producer Laura Pearsall, Assistant Director & Dance Consultant AD Newcomer, Costume Designer Diane Peterson and Lighting Designer Kayla Lessard.

Sounds wonderful. Get your tickets now for Wolf Hall, which will be presented at the historic North Fork Community Theatre in Mattituck from Friday, March 6 through Sunday, March 22. Shows will be held on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets are $20.

North Fork Community Theatre 12700 Sound Avenue in Mattituck. For more information, call 631-298-4500 or visit www.nfct.com.

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