A Contemporary Theatre will premiere Temporary Help, David Wiltse's new psychological thriller, Aug. 19. Previews began Aug. 13 for a run through Sept. 12. ACT's artistic director Gordon Edelstein directs. Based on a New York Times story of a Midwestern couple who serially offed their hired hands, Temporary Help tells the story of Karl and Faye Streber, who play a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with the drifters who wander into their path. They meet their match, however, when Vincent finds his way to their remote Nebraska farmhouse
Wiltse won a 1972 Drama Desk Award for Most Promising Playwright with his first play, Suggs. Other playwriting credits are Doubles (which reached Broadway in 1985 with Tony Roberts and Austin Pendleton), A Grand Romance, A Dance Lesson and Crazy Horse and the Three Stars. Wiltse is also a novelist whose books include "Blown Away," "Into the Fire," "The Wedding Guest" and "Prayer for the Dead."
Thomas Kopache and Stephanie Faracy (DramaLogue winner for Present Laughter) star as the Strebers with Chad Allen (Matthew Cooper on "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman") as Vincent. Also in the cast is John Procaccino (Sheriff Ron Stucker).
Jazz guitarist Bill Frisell composed the play's original music. Frisell, who has led and been a side man on over 50 jazz recordings, also composed for his Bill Frisell Band on the Elektra/Nonesuch recordings "Is That You?," "Before We Were Born" and "Where in the World?".
Designing Temporary Help are Hugh Landwehr (sets), Rose Pederson (costumes), Peter Maradudin (lighting) and Stephen LeGrand (sound). Jeffrey K. Hanson is the production stage manager.
Tickets ($40-$25) are available by calling the ACT box office at (206) 292-7676.
-- By Christine Ehren