The series of readings of new and classic work has the theme of "mistaken identity and people trying to identify who they are." Short plays are often paired.
The writers represented include O'Donnell (Hairspray), Gurney (The Dining Room), Oscar Wilde, Noel Coward, Susan Charlotte, Shakespeare, David Henry Hwang, Thornton Wilder, Harold Pinter, Arthur Miller, Horton Foote and Tennessee Williams.
Performances are at 2 PM at The Players at 16 Gramercy Park South. An optional lunch is served between noon and 1:30 PM at Friend of a Farmer, 77 Irving Place. For reservations and information, call (646) 366-9340.
The fall 2009 Food for Thought season includes:
Sept. 23 & Dec. 3 The Love Course by A. R. Gurney, starring Zoe Caldwell and Larry Pine, directed by Antony Marsellis: "Two Professors, one student of literature, another of electrical engineering — this is the cast of four that make up Gurney's literary love story! Carroway and Burgess, the two professors, have been teaching a course on the literature of love. They are about to teach their last class as the play begins." (Followed by a Q & A with the actors, writer and director.)
Plus Excerpts From Shakespeare performed by Joe Sirola.
Sept. 30 & Nov. 9
Plus The Designers by Susan Charlotte: "A compelling drama that revolves around an interior designer, a tall woman (played by Marian Seldes) who transforms small spaces (apartment, etc.) into seemingly larger spaces and a fashion designer, a small woman (played by Joan Copeland) who makes women who are 'plus, plus' sizes seem smaller. Both women are at a point in their life where many friends have passed away and their larger than life worlds are becoming smaller."
Oct. 5 & Nov. 19
Shadows of the Evening by Noel Coward, paired with Silence by Harold Pinter: "Two dramatically different writers who explore triangles. Pinter deals with a woman and two men, while Coward deals with a man and two women. They both deal with a certain kind of silence which fills the lives of the characters in both plays."
Oct. 15 & Dec. 2
The Wreck on the Five-Twenty-Five by Thornton Wilder: "Wilder writes about a man who takes a commuter train from the city to the suburbs and has a darker kind of hope, a hope that there will be a wreck on the train in order to shake people up and enable them to say things that they would ordinarily conceal. This wonderfully thought-provocative play which deals with post-war Americana had its world premiere in West Berlin, Germany in September 1957."
Plus Bartlett's Familiar Quotations: The Play by Mark O'Donnell: "A couple who live in '…a dingy, threadbare apartment not unlike the Kramdens,' as in the TV series, ‘The Honeymooners.' struggle with the burden of everyday life when there is no money to provide comfort. It is throughout this struggle that a freeloader named Plato speaks, using only well-known quotations, O'Donnell, in his inimitable comedic fashion, manages to turn a dramatic situation into a hilarious one-act play."
Oct. 21 & Nov,. 23
The Dearest of Friends by Horton Foote, paired with Hello From Bertha by Tennessee Williams: "Foote and Williams, two Southern writers exploring very different worlds. Foote, in his play, deals with good, moral characters but not all of them can lead the righteous life they were brought up to embrace. While Williams explores the down and out world of the boarding house, in which a bed is not a place where an individual rests, but rather a piece of property shared by many in order to make a living. What is shared by these two masters is a world that is filled with confusion and characters who are overwhelmed with disappointment."
Plus Simmer in Sweat, a satire about Tennessee Williams, by Mark O'Donnell.
Trying to Find Chinatown by David Henry Hwang: "Benjamin, a Caucasian-looking young man is looking for Chinatown. He asks Ronnie, who is Asian and a street performer, for directions. Ronnie is offended. He does not think Benjamin should assume that he knows where Chinatown is. Benjamin, ironically, was adopted by an Asian-American family and is looking for the house where his father was born. Ronnie is not interested in his heritage. He has embraced the American culture."
Plus Spring Dance by Horton Foote: "Four characters in an institution; Annie and her fellow inmates can only discover who they are be recognizing their connections to the enduring patterns around them."
Crawling Arnold by Jules Feiffer: "In this very 'Feiffer' world, the play opens with a couple, Barry and Grace Enterprise and a young social worker, Miss Sympathy, sitting in deck chairs on the 'expensively bedecked patio' of their home. They have invited Miss Sympathy over to help them with their older son, Arnold.
The Performance by Arthur Miller: "A gem of a work starring Joan Copeland (the playwright's sister, who starred in Miller's The American Clock) accompanied by a real tap dancer! Copeland plays all the roles in this fascinating story about a journalist who remembers a tale of a tap dancer. But not any tap dancer. This particular dancer is asked to perform in front of one of the most powerful people in the world and is even offered his own school."