Quotidian Theatre Company’s production of Eugene O’Neill’s ambitious ensemble piece The Iceman Cometh runs October 25 – November 24. After becoming a company member at The Hub Theatre and making waves with the Capital Fringe hit We Tiresias (named Best Local Play by Washington City Paper), actor Chris Stinson makes his QTC debut with Iceman, playing the role of Don Parritt:
Being the only sober guy in a bar full of drunks does make you stand out.
That’s one of the many reasons why my character Don Parritt doesn’t seem to fit in with the crowd at Harry Hope’s saloon where The Iceman Cometh takes place. Don is a troubled young man desperately seeking a new direction in life from men whose only direction is towards their next drink.
The lost souls in Harry’s bar are addicted to alcohol, but even more so to their delusions.
They gloriously parade around in their falsehoods for all to see. The denial of reality is so intoxicating it’s almost hallucinatory.
Don seeks a different kind of fix. He so desperately wants to be honest with himself. His flaws need to acknowledged to bring him peace. He simply needs someone who can understand him. Don has traveled across the country in the hopes that Larry Slade, a father figure from his past, is that someone.
I was interested to find out that part of the inspiration for Don came from O’Neill’s son, Shane, and O’Neill himself as a young adult. Both were haunted by poor relations with their parents. Shane in particular was said to be overly dependent for his age.
But what happens when a young man tries to be independent, but instead finds crushing loneliness? Who do you turn to? What are those healing words you long to hear? I think that’s where we find Don when the lights go up onstage.
I’ve had the great pleasure of working with many of the actors in this cast before. Genevieve James, Matt Boliek, Manolo Santalla, and I were in 1st Stage’s 2011 production of Parfumerie; my professional debut in the DC area. Don shares many intense moments during the show with Larry Slade, played by Quotidian favorite Steve Beall. Steve and I spent similar time together onstage in last year’s award-winning Capital Fringe play, We Tiresias by Stephen Spotswood. It’s a joy to be surrounded by so many familiar faces, and their undeniable talent, once again.
The sheer size of the cast and length of the play itself is a unique workload for the entire cast and crew. But thanks to many read-throughs of the script and the one-on-one table work rehearsals with our director Michael Avolio, no stone has been left unturned when it came to making distinct choices about our characters and seeing where we all fit inside this massive ensemble of a show.
Eugene O’Neill crafted this classic American tragedy in 1939, but its messages about hope, betrayal, and defining our own redemption resonate still today.
This is one of those special opportunities where audiences (and the actors) can get swept up in an acclaimed yet rarely-seen masterpiece.
So have a drink. Stay awhile.
Quotidian Theatre Company presents
The Iceman Cometh
by Eugene O’Neill
Oct 25 – Nov 24, 2013
Featuring Steve Beall, Matt Boliek, Frank Britton, Danny Brooks, John Decker, Tiffany Garfinkle, Genevieve James, Carolyn Kashner, Steve LaRocque, Ken Lechter, Brian McDermott, Brandon Mitchell, Louis Pangaro, Manolo Santalla, Ted Schneider, Chris Stinson, Christian Sullivan, and Frank Vince.
Director: Michael Avolio.
Artistic Adviser: Bill Largess.
Stage Manager: Christine Alexander.
Show times are 8pm Fridays and Saturdays, and 2pm Sundays, with one additional 2pm performance on Saturday, November 23.
Tickets are $30, or $25 for seniors and students, and can be purchased by cash or check at the door, online at Brown Paper Tickets, or by phone at 1-800-838-3006 ext 1 (ask for Quotidian Theatre Company). $15 per ticket for groups of 10 or more (email for reservations). Subscribers, email QTC or call 301-816-1023 for reservations.
All performances are held at The Writer’s Center: 4508 Walsh Street, Bethesda, MD.
The venue is a short walk from the Bethesda Metro Station. There is free parking on Saturdays and Sundays.