JEFF ZINN’S PRMOTIONAL VIDEO FOR GLOUCESTER STAGE’S “FLIGHT OF THE MONARCH”

Check out Jeff Zinn’s promo video for Flight of the Monarch, the current production at Gloucester Stage Company. Sunday’s talk back was a delight to attend. So many thanks to Jeff Zinn and Bob Walsh for the invitation. The playwright Jim Frangione has a deep love for Monarch butterflies and it was a joy to make his acquaintance!

For the video, Jeff borrowed footage from forthcoming documentary Beauty on the Wing: Life Story of the Monarch Butterfly. The scenes that he selected from the film were all shot right here in our own backyards, in Gloucester.

For tickets and more information visit the Gloucester Stage website here.

To read Tom Hauck’s review for Good Morning Gloucester, go here.

COME JOIN US SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, FOR “FLIGHT OF THE MONARCH” TALK BACK AT THE GLOUCESTER STAGE

Please join myself and the cast, director, and author of Gloucester Stage Company’s current show “Flight of the Monarch” for a Talk Back on Sunday September 17th. The Talk Backs are fun and interesting events held during a show’s run where audiences are invited to ask questions of the players. In attendance will be Jeff Ziinn, the director; Jim Frangione, the playwright; Nancy Carroll, the lead actress who plays Shelia Callaghan; and Tucker Smith, the lead actor who plays Thomas Callaghan. I have been asked to join to answer any questions folks may have about Monarch butterflies and this year’s migration. The Talk Back is at 4:00pm and will be held in the theatre. Anyone is welcome to come, whether or not you have seen the show, so please do come!

Monarch Butterflies Gloucester Morning Awakening

“FLIGHT OF THE MONARCH” MAKES TRIUMPHANT WORLD PREMIERE!

“Flight of the Monarch” Makes Triumphant World Premiere

By Tom Hauck

Even by the high standards of the Gloucester Stage Company, one of America’s most respected venues for new dramatic works, “Flight of the Monarch” has made an astonishing first impression. This new work, penned by Jim Frangione and directed by GSC Managing Director Jeff Zinn, and featuring just two actors, Nancy E. Carroll (Sheila) and J. Tucker Smith (Thomas), hits the stage as a fully formed and incisive examination of a question that every person asks themselves at some point in their lives: “What do I have to live for?”

The premise, like many great dramas, is simple: The lights come up on Sheila, a woman of advanced age, who is lying in a hospital bed. But she’s not passive; she’s on the phone, arguing with her sister. Defiant in her confinement, she just wants to get on with her life. Her younger brother Thomas, who has been dozing in a visitor’s chair, wakes up, and the siblings waste no time in exposing the family’s secrets. As the layers are ripped aside, we quickly learn that under Shiela’s fiesty exterior she’s losing faith in herself. She feels only the crushing weight of what she believes has been a lifetime marked by failure.

In crafting the peppery dialogue, playwright Jim Frangione, himself a working actor, thankfully avoids the temptation to be clever. Sheila and Thomas feel like people we know, and it’s easy to forget that we’re not hearing transcripts of actual conversations. Frangione’s ear for dialogue is spot-on and the plot elements are true to life. Yes, there are plenty of laughs in this drama, but none are forced, and they come from the heart, not from a playwright seeking to pander to his audience.

The direction by Jeff Zinn is what it should be: invisible to the audience. The play unfolds with such ease and naturalism that we forget we’re watching a consciously crafted presentation. As the actors verbally attack, retreat, and make peace – often with the span of a few seconds – we stay with them, never feeling as though we’re seeing anything other than real people with real problems.

Gloucester Stage Company veteran and Rockport resident Nancy E. Carroll and GSC newcomer J. Tucker Smith carry the production with nary a misstep. They deliver astonishing performances that resonate with real passion, dreams, and regrets. They never reach for cheap laughs, which goes a long way toward building and maintaining their credibility with the audience. When they express their deepest emotions, we believe them.

The set by Cristina Todesco supports the actors and the story. When the lights come up on the second act, which is set in Sheila’s living room, you’ll swear you’ve been there before – every casually placed tchotchke evokes the kind of run-down middle-class Cape that could use a really good cleaning. The lights, costume, and sound design all contribute to the authenticity of the setting.

“Flight of the Monarch” is a poignant and astonishing family drama that aims for the heart and doesn’t miss. Congratulations to the Gloucester Stage Company for presenting this newly created jewel. See it before it triumphs in New York! Onstage now through September 30. For tickets – while they last! – visit gloucesterstage.com or call 978-281-4433.

 

GLOUCESTER STAGE TALK BACK WITH THE CAST, DIRECTOR, AND AUTHOR OF “FLIGHT OF THE MONARCH” AND KIM SMITH


On Sunday, September 17th, I am excited to say I will be joining the stellar cast, director, and author of Gloucester Stage Company’s current show “Flight of the Monarch” for a Talk Back. The Talk Backs are super fun and interesting events held at least once during a show’s run where audiences are invited to ask questions of the players. In attendance will be Jeff Ziinn, the director; Jim Frangione, the play’s author; Nancy Carroll, the lead actress who plays Shelia Callaghan; and Tucker Smith, the lead actor who plays Thomas Callaghan. I have been asked to join to answer any questions folks may have about Monarch butterflies and this year’s migration. The Talk Back is at 4:00pm and held in the theatre. Anyone is welcome to come, whether or not you have seen the show, so please do come! 

Monarchs, honey bees, and many species of butterflies and bees love the nectar rich florets of Bull Thistle. Monarch coming in for a landing at Eastern Point, Gloucester.