Off-Off-Bway's Yesterday's News Charts Pen Pal Relationship, Oct. 11-29

News   Off-Off-Bway's Yesterday's News Charts Pen Pal Relationship, Oct. 11-29 Other Side Productions, an Off-Off-Broadway company, stages Pete Mercurio's epistolary relationship play, Yesterday's News, at the Bank Street Theatre in Manhattan Oct. 11-29.

Other Side Productions, an Off-Off-Broadway company, stages Pete Mercurio's epistolary relationship play, Yesterday's News, at the Bank Street Theatre in Manhattan Oct. 11-29.

Playwright Mercurio, whose Andrew Reaches the Other Side, was staged last season Off-Off-Broadway by Other Side Productions, directs his play, about pen pals whose innocent relationship over the years is corrupted by outside forces.

Mercurio calls the play a "seriocom." It was originally written in 1990 in reaction to the sensationalized media coverage of the Persian Gulf War.

"In writing and rewriting the play over the years, I wanted to show how the mere presence of overbearing news and incessant talk can leave a lasting impression on the public without the public ever being aware of its influence," Mercurio told Playbill On-Line.

Melissa and Danny are pen pals who share a relationship while living on opposite coasts. The distance between them and the influence of the news media put a growing strain on their relationship. "When they are kids, they write to each other about kid stuff like what's happening on Danny's favorite cartoon, Bugs Bunny," said Mercurio. "Melissa asks him for news about Bugs Bunny because she is not allowed to watch TV. As the they get older and enter high school, Danny slowly stops watching TV as Melissa becomes more engrossed."

A TV anchor, a talk show host and network people disrupt their relationship.

The cast includes Dawn Alvan, Melanie Bean, Chuck Blasius, Mason M. Scherzer, Jennifer A. Skinner and Michael Winslow. Rob Hilliard designs set and lights.

Tickets are $12. Bank Street Theatre is at 155 Bank Street between Washington and West streets, next door to Westbeth theatre, in the courtyard. Performances are 8 PM Wednesdays Saturdays and 3 PM Sundays. For information, call (212) 978-7669, or visit the web site at www.osprods.com.

— By Kenneth Jones