There’s no play too heavy, too complex for Performing Arts of Woodstock to take on. Ever since starting off with a production of Eugene Ionesco’s The Lesson at the old Café Espresso (right around the same time that a young man named Bob Dylan was composing music upstairs), it has tackled the likes of Sam Shepard and Samuel Beckett, new works and old, and all with a host of talented non-professionals from the local community.
Starting this Thursday, August 16, the 48-year old troupe will be taking on the rising new classic Yankee Tavern by Steven Dietz in three weekends of performances in a new location: the St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church Hall, located just outside the village itself (it has usually performed at the Woodstock Town Hall, now under renovation).
The play is set in a down-at-heels saloon near Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan in the years after the World Trade Center has come down. A regular of the bar spins his conspiracy theories about 9/11, the moonwalk and the general state of the world while the young owner of the bar, a graduate student, turns out to have his own secrets. A stranger arrives who knows those secrets and was somehow involved in 9/11, setting up a comedic thriller that plays conspiracies within conspiracies for what many have termed one of our age’s best new dramas.
“The fits and starts that comprise our daily life can – with a bottle of beer and an attentive bartender – attain a certain rough-hewn majesty in the telling,” is how Dietz, who has consistently made the Top Ten list of most-produced playwrights (not including Shakespeare) in recent years, has described his work. Nicola Sheara, a Broadway actress, directs this production as it runs on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 p.m. each day, with no matinees or Sunday performances.
Performing Arts of Woodstock present Yankee Tavern at the Hall at St. Gregory’s Church, located at 2578 Route 212 a quarter-mile north of Woodstock. The show will run three weekends from August 16 to September 1 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. There will be no matinees or Sunday performances. Tickets cost $17 for adults, $14 for seniors and students, with reservations necessary due to very limited seating. Call (845) 679-7900 or visit www.performingartsofwoodstock.org.