Ten Fifteen Productions’ latest performance features one-act plays by two of the most challenging modern American playwrights. Director Ryan Hull makes no apologies for putting them together — because he loves them both.
The shows are “An Interview” by David Mamet and “The Actor’s Nightmare” by Christopher Durang. Lead actors in both are Mick Alderman and Gigi Chadwick.
Mamet earned the 1984 Pulitzer Prize with “Glengarry Glen Ross” and an Oscar nomination for the screenplay for 1997’s political satire “Wag The Dog.” His dialogue has been called “street-smart.”
“He can offend some people,” Hull said. “I like how he uses words, the humor. I am intrigued. It is not typical — a unique approach.”
“An Interview” is about a sleazy lawyer, played by Alderman, who is called to account for his actions by a mystery questioner, portrayed by Chadwick. “We discover the stakes are as high as they can be,” Hull said. Because the plot features a twist, no more can be revealed.
“The Actor’s Nightmare,” a comedy, features Alderman as a man suffering from memory loss who finds himself inexplicably pressed into service as a theatrical understudy by a stage manager, also played by Chadwick.
Famous historical British actors appear: Ann Bronson portrays Ellen Terry, Slab Slabinski is Sir Henry Irving and Danyelle Tinker portrays Sarah Siddons.
SuperHull is director of The Cannon Beach Academy, a public charter school. He moved to the North Coast after gaining theater experience and training in New York.
One project included ushering at the 1995 Off-Broadway production of “An Interview” featuring actors Paul Guilfoyle and Gerry Becker. “It was good to see them work every night, to be immersed in it, and I thought one day, if I could, I would work that show again.” Hull said.
It is his first project at the Astoria theater, but cast members are all known to him already, mostly at the Coaster Theatre in Cannon Beach, where his wife, Jenni Tronier, is operations director.
Alderman’s dedication to the Clatsop County theater scene sees him on stage and doing considerable work in directing, lighting design and set building. “I have know Mick a long time and we have worked on a lot of shows together,” Hull said. “He is a ‘super trouper.’”
Alderman and Slabinski have additional backstage jobs, while Olivia Johnston, Marco Davis and Eric Wheeler complete the design team and crew.
TouchingChadwick has embraced the linguistic challenges Mamet and Durang present. “Mamet is so wordy,” she said. “Mick has the line load from hell.”
Durang’s humor uses parody and frequently skewers his Catholic upbringing. Chadwick appeared in his Tony-winning “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” also at the Coaster Theatre, in 2019. “I find him to be very witty, very funny in his treatment of dysfunctional people and relationships as we know them,” she said.
Hull and Bronson are frequent collaborators. He has savored her contribution. “She is professionally trained opera singer with an amazing voice and holds a special place in my heart,” he said. “She comes in with her pockets full of ideas.”
He hopes audiences will appreciate both playwrights’ clever use of language. “People who come will have an enjoyable time,” he said. “We have got a really strong cast and material to have some fun with.”
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