Cortland Rep Downtown Presents Two Regional Premiere One-Act Plays

Posted by  //  October 8, 2016  //  Arts & Live Music, Local Business, News

Cortland Repertory Theatre, celebrating 45 years of quality theatre in Central New York continues their second fall season at the new CRT Downtown with an evening of two regional premiere one-act plays, aimed to stir up Halloween spirits, you click here for info on similar acting schools, from October 12 – 23, CRT will present “The Receptionist” an intriguing dark comedy by Adam Bock, and “The Birds”, a psychological thriller by Conor McPherson, based on a short story by Daphne du Maurier. Both one-acts will be presented in the same evening with a 15 minute intermission. CRT notes that while neither play is bloody or gory, “The Birds” contains some adult language.

In “The Receptionist”, an ordinary day in a nameless Corporate America office is set on its ear. Beverly works at the nondescript Northeast Office, dealing effortlessly with ringing phones, her daughter’s dramas and her colleague’s romantic troubles. But the appearance of a charming representative from the Central Office disrupts her daily routine. As the true nature of the company’s shocking business becomes apparent, the office world of borrowed pens, coffee makers and voicemail becomes dangerous. This play questions the consequences of keeping secrets and who ultimately is held responsible when things go wrong.

In “The Birds”, the short story that was the basis for Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film is boldly adapted into a gripping, edge-of-your-seat play. In an isolated New England farmhouse, Diane has rescued Nat from masses of attacking birds. As the two strangers start to deal with the isolation caused by the birds outside, a trusting relationship begins to form. But when young and beautiful Julia arrives also seeking shelter, a paranoia triangle is formed that becomes an internal threat to match that of the birds outside. The question remains: when the world turns upside down, who do you trust?

Directing both plays is Shaun Peknic, who returns to CRT after directing “Sherlock Holmes and the West End Horror” in 2015.  Peknic was Associate Director for the Tony-Award winning Broadway musical “Once” and continues to work with national tours and overseas productions of that musical.  Both casts are comprised of the same four actors:  In “The Receptionist”, Deborah Ann Smith plays Beverly, Whitney Conkling is Lorraine her co-worker, Leroy S. Graham plays the charming Mr. Dart and Chris Nickerson is Mr. Raymond, the office boss.  In “The Birds”, Smith portrays the resourceful Diane, Graham plays Nat the man she saves, Conkling plays the tough survivor Julia and Nickerson is Tierney, the next-door farmer.  While the other three actors are making their CRT debuts, Nickerson has been seen at CRT in “Johnny Guitar”, “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” and Agatha Christie’s “Spider’s Web”.

The creative team includes CRT Sound Designer Seth Asa Sengel, Scenic and Props Designer Sam Sheehan, Costume Designer Mark Reynolds and Lighting Designer Eric Behnke.  Behnke also serves as Technical Director and Production/Stage Manager.

Performances of “The Birds” and “The Receptionist” are October 12 – 15 and 19 – 22 at 7:30 with matinees on October 16 and 23 at 2:00 PM.  Adult tickets are $32.00, students and seniors are $30.00. Visit the CRT website at for more information or to purchase tickets online. The CRT Downtown Box Office is open Monday – Friday from 9:00 – 4:00.  Call 800-427-6160 for more information.

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