THEATRE WORKSHOP OF NANTUCKET ANNOUNCES The Cocktail Hour By A.R. Gurney
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Danica Connors, Theatrical Operations
508-228-4305 ext. 101
Directed by Dan Foster
The Cocktail Hour is a comedy of manners by A. R. Gurney. It premiered in June 1988 in San Diego, California at the Old Globe Theatre and, on October 20, 1988, in New York City at the Off Broadway Promenade Theatre. Like many of Gurney’s plays, The Cocktail Hour is a comedy exploring the world of upper-class families in the Northeastern United States. It was the winner of the Lucille Lortel Award as Best Off-Broadway Play.
September 13 – October 7
Bennett Hall, 62 Centre Street
Albert Ramsdell Gurney Jr., as pen name A. R. Gurney (sometimes credited as Pete Gurney) was an American playwright, novelist and academic. He is known for works including The Dining Room (1982), Sweet Sue (1986/7), and The Cocktail Hour (1988), and for his Pulitzer Prize nominated play Love Letters.
Playwright Gurney has said The Cocktail Hour was "probably the most personal thing I had written up to this time.” Healso revealed that he promised his parents it would not be produced in Buffalo, New York, his hometown wherethey still resided, during their lifetimes because "the details are so close to home." He added, "The play tries to
work within the traditions of a comedy of manners, and simultaneously challenge those traditions as outmoded if not destructive."
Gurney's plays often explored the theme of declining upper-class "WASP" life in contemporary America. Several of his works are loosely based on his patrician upbringing. Gurney told the Washington Post in 1982, “WASPs do have a
culture — traditions, idiosyncrasies, quirks, particular signals and totems we pass on to one another. But the WASP culture, or at least that aspect of the culture I talk about, is enough in the past so that we can now look at it with some objectivity, smile at it, and even appreciate some of its values. There was a closeness of family, a commitment to duty, to stoic responsibility, which I think we have to say weren’t entirely bad.”
“Mr. Gurney still has new and witty observations to make about a nearly extinct patrician class that regards psychiatry as an affront to good manners, underpaid hired help as a birthright and the selling of blue-chip stocks as a first step toward Marxism.”
~The New York Times~
“As a comedy of manners, Gurney’s play succeeds. If it’s martini-dry wit you crave, you’ll find it here. “The Cocktail Hour’’ is briskly entertaining, and even touching in spots.”
~The Boston Globe~
“It is art imitating art imitating life. Pure geometry.”
~Los Angeles Times~
“An articulate comedy of familial manners set in the 1970s, it both debunks and blows a kiss to the world of fingerbowls, maid service, and the perfect martini. As cultural commentary, it's hardly a stiff drink. But despite its 25 years of age, it is as modern, in its metatheatricality, as a craft Cosmo.
The time is the mid '70s, the place a city in upstate New York. John, a playwright, returns to his family's house, bringing with him a new play that he’s written about them. His purpose is to obtain their permission to proceed with production, but his wealthy, very proper parents are cautious from the outset. For them, the theatre is personified by the gracious and comforting Lunts and Ina Claire, and they are disturbed by the bluntness of modern plays. There is also John's sister Nina to contend with, although her reservations have to do with the fact that John has given her character a minor role.The confrontation takes place during the ritual of the cocktail hour, and as the martinis flow, so do the recriminations and revelations, both funny and poignant. In the end, it
is evident that what John has written is closer to the truth than his family has been willing to admit, and that beneath their WASP reserve, his parents and siblings are as beset by uncertainties and frustrations as their presumed "inferiors." But though they seem shackled by the past and tantalized by an alien future, the ties that bind them do prevail—surmounting disputes and disappointments and, with unfailing warmth and humor, converting pained resignation into cautious but hopeful anticipation.
• Townsend Ambrecht as John
• John Devaney* as Bradley
• Janet Forest as Nina
• Peggy J. Scott* as Ann
* Denotes a Member of Actor’s Equity Association
Townsend Ambrecht lives in NYC and is pleased to be back with TWN.
Most recently, he starred in the independent feature and directorial debut of
IndieWire’s Graham Winfrey, Double Belgian, along with Julia Conley and
Emmy Award winning Nick Moss. On Nantucket, Townsend is an associate
of the Nantucket Conservation Foundation and Nantucket Tipping
PAUL CARLIN* TWN productions: November. NY productions: Long
Day’s Journey into Night, Temporal Powers, After the Ball, Apple Cove,
Bella, The Milk of Paradise, Twelfth Night, Paint Your Wagon, Salvation, God
of Carnage. Regional Stage: The Great American Mousical & The
Boyfriend, both directed by Julie Andrews, Mame, Where’s Charley?, On the
20th Century, Brigadoon. TV: 30 Rock; Ryan’s Hope; One Life to Live.
Janet Forest After a three-year break, Janet is very grateful to be back on
Nantucket and back on stage. You may have seen her recently in Terms of
Endearment, Somewhere in Between, Laugh Lines, and Almost, Maine. In
addition to several Nantucket Short Play Festival performances, Janet's past
productions include Six Degrees of Separation; Moby Dick Rehearsed;Twelfth
Night; and Cheever Evening.
Peggy J. Scott* Broadway: Is He Dead. Off-Broadway: Public Theatre,
Mint, La Mama, Flea. Regional: Hudson Stage, Guthrie, American
Conservatory Theatre, Denver Center, Mark Taper, Huntington, Actors
Theatre Louisville, Theatre Aspen (Henry Nomination). Film/TV: Finding
Amanda; recurring on Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Succession, House of Cards,
Americans, Show Me a Hero, Rescue Me. February 2019, Switzerland at
Tickets on sale online and at the Main Street Box Office.
* 24/7 at theatrenantucket.org
* By calling 508.288.4305 (local: Mon-Fri 10AM-4PM), or
* By visiting our Box Office at 50 Main Street, Second Floor (Mon-Fri 10AM- 4PM)
All performances at Bennett Hall
62 Centre Street – on the grounds of the First Congregational Church
Running Time: Approx. two hours and fifteen minutes with one intermission
Thursday, September 13 at 6:00PM
(Opening Night Performance)
Friday, September 14 at 6:00PM
Saturday, September 15 at 6:00PM
Sunday, September 16 at 3:00PM
(Senior/Student Sunday: free matinee students with an ID and patrons 65+)
Tuesday, September 18 at 6:00 PM
Wednesday, September 19 at 6:00 PM
Thursday September 20 at 6:00 PM
Saturday, September 22 at 6:00 PM
Sunday, September 23 at 3:00PM
Tuesday, September 25 at 6:00 PM
Wednesday, September 26 at 6:00 PM
Thursday September 27 at 6:00 PM
Saturday, September 29 at 6:00 PM
Sunday, September 30 at 3:00PM
Tuesday, October 2 at 6:00PM
Wednesday, October 3 at 6:00PM
Thursday, October 4 at 6:00 PM
Saturday, October 6 at 6:00 PM
Sunday, October 7 at 3:00PM
ALL PERFORMANCE DATES AND TIMES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
FOR THE MOST UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION, GO TO OUR WEBSITE AT: