Portraits Installed at Union Square Theatre, Beginning Sept. 9

News   Portraits Installed at Union Square Theatre, Beginning Sept. 9
Portraits, a collection of 9/11-themed monologues by Jonathan Bell which had a 2002 run at The Ridgefield Playhouse in Fairfield County, CT, will have its New York premiere Off-Broadway at the Union Square Theatre. Previews begin Sept. 9 for an opening Sept. 21.

The work, to be directed by Mark Pinter, is a series of seven personal tales, some inspired by real people and their responses to the 2001 terrorist attacks. The cast will feature Victor Slezak (Roses in December), Dana Reeve, Roberta Maxwell, Anjali Bhimani, Matte Osial, Christopher Coucill and Darrie Lawrence.

The Ridgefield show starred Pinter, Frank Converse, regional theatre veteran Gina Daniels, Broadway vet Anita Gillette, Rebecca Schull, Thomas Wiggin and Colleen Zenk-Pinter.

Bell told Playbill On-Line in 2002, "It's a collection of stories, it's a full production, that I'm producing as a dedication to victims and survivors of the tragic events of Sept. 11. It's kind of a personal observation of individual stories. I wanted to remember people on the perimeter of the events. I thought the historical actions highlighting public heroes would be pretty well documented. I thought it would be interesting to amplify the personal experiences of everyday people. Throughout the course of creating it, I encountered several unusual stories surrounding the events of the 11th. The final product of Portraits is a mixture of fictional and non-fictional accounts."

The play offers five monologues and a duologue, introduced by an artist character who presents the people as pictures in a gallery, with references to Picasso's "Guernica" painting. Bell culled stories from the internet or from newspapers and used them as starting points for his monologues. Among the portrait subjects:

  • Betty, a simple woman, alone in upstate New York, who needs to reach out and communicate to someone — anyone.
  • Daniel, an executive at the World Trade Center who is in the wrong place at the wrong time — and gets caught.
  • Arifa, a Muslim woman, and a proud, third-generation American. She is now fearful as an American and of Americans.
  • John, a registered nurse and an EMT from Orange County, NY, who headed to NYC to help in any way he could.
  • Ruth, the mother of a man who survived; and Nancy, the wife of a man who did not, because he was helping others get out. Nancy is resentful. The piece was originally titled 9/11 Portraits.

    For tickets, call (212) 307-4100.

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