“An Act of the Imagination,” Bernard Slade’s masterful and suspense filled mystery, will be the third play of the Hampton Theatre Company’s 2016-2017 season, opening on March 23 at the Quogue Community Hall and running through April 9, 2017.
Set in the 1960s, in the era before cell phones and GPS, “An Act of the Imagination” has been described by one reviewer as “one of the wilder rides of drawing room mystery.”
The ingenious plot zeroes in on the mystery writer Arthur Putnam, who has created his first romance after 27 whodunits. Though his beautiful and charming wife, Julia, and his feckless son from an earlier marriage, Simon, are accustomed to Arthur’s vagueness and absent-minded foibles, the author’s change in subject matter puzzles them both.
Their puzzlement takes a darker turn when a woman arrives on the Putnams’ doorstep with a tale of an adulterous affair with Arthur that precisely mirrors the story in his new book. The simmering pot really begins to boil when Arthur becomes the chief suspect after the woman is killed, at the same time as a plot to do away with Arthur comes to light.
While keeping audiences on the edge of their seats, the mystery also asks how much we really know about those who are closest to us, and what can we do when we discover they are not who we think they are?
The cast of “An Act of the Imagination” features three Hampton Theatre Company veterans and four newcomers. Playing Arthur Putnam and his wife Julia are Matthew Conlon and Rebecca Edana, both of whom were last on the Quogue stage in the fall 2016 production of David Mamet’s “November.” Amanda Griemsmann, last seen in the HTC production of “4000 Miles” in January of this year, has the role of Holly Adams, Arthur’s editor.
New to the HTC stage are: Jesse Pimpinella, playing Simon Putnam; James M. Lotito Jr. as Detective Sergeant Fred Burchitt; Meggie Doyle as Brenda Simmons; and Cesa Pledger as Brooke Carmichael.
The director of “Deathtrap” and “I Hate Hamlet” for the HTC, Hampton Theatre Company board member Edward Brennan directs. Set design is by Sean Marbury; lighting design by Sebastian Paczynski; and costumes by Teresa Lebrun.
Best known for his 1975 play “Same Time, Next Year” and nominated for an Oscar for his screenplay adaptation for the film version, Bernard Slade has written extensively for stage, screen and television.
After starting his career as an actor in his native Canada, Slade moved to Hollywood in the 1960s and started writing for television, creating, developing or writing scripts for such shows as “Bewitched”; “Love on a Rooftop”; “The Flying Nun”; “The Partridge Family,” based on the real-life Cowsills; and “Bridget Loves Bernie,” inspired by the popular 1922 Broadway comedy “Abie’s Irish Rose” by Anne Nichols.
“Same Time, Next Year” was his first play for the stage. He followed that success with “Tribute” in 1978 and “Romantic Comedy” in 1979, and adapted both plays for the big screen as well.
In addition to “An Act of the Imagination,” first produced in England in 1987 under the title “Sweet William,” Slade wrote another mystery, “Fatal Attraction” in 1986, a play with absolutely no connection to the blockbuster film of the same title that came out the following year.
“An Act of the Imagination" runs at the Quogue Community Hall from March 23 to April 9, 2017 with shows on Thursdays and Fridays at 7, Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 2:30. There will also be an additional matinee performance of “An Act of the Imagination” on Saturday, April 8, at 2:30 p.m.
New this season, the HTC is offering $15 discount tickets for audience members under 35, and an additional matinee performance on the final weekend of the production, on Saturday, April 8, at 2:30 p.m., prior to the regular 8 p.m. performance that evening.
Starting with this production, the HTC is now partnering with the Quogue Club at the Hallock House for a special matinée lunch package for the 2:30 p.m. show on Saturday, April 8. Information about this package is available at www.hamptontheatre.org or by calling 1-631-653-8955.
The Hampton Theatre Company will again be offering special dinner and theater packages in collaboration with the Westhampton, Southampton, Hampton Bays and Quogue libraries. Information about the dinner and theater packages is available at www.hamptontheatre.org, or through the libraries.
To reserve tickets, visit www.hamptontheatre.org, or call OvationTix at 1-866-811-4111.
BASIC FACTS: "An Act of the Imagination" is presented by the Hampton Theatre Company from March 23 through April 9. 2017 at Quogue Community Hall.
Performances take place on Thursdays and Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m. (Saturday, April 8 at 2:30 p.m.) and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Click here for tickets.
Quogue Community Hall is located at 125 Jessup Ave, Quogue, NY 11959. www.hamptontheatre.org.
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