Tara Franklin and James Barry performing in “Sister Play” together at Chester Theatre Co

James Barry and Tara Franklin.

James Barry and Tara Franklin.

Berkshire favorites (and spouses) Tara Franklin and James Barry
perform together for the first time

Chester, MA—Sister Play, the third production in Chester Theatre Company’s 2016 season, will have its regional premiere on Wednesday, August 3, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. in the Chester Town Hall at 15 Middlefield Road, Chester, MA.

Alternately described as “whimsical… dramatic… deeply philosophical” by the New York Times and “fresh and potent” by the Boston Globe, when it premiered at Wellfleet’s Harbor Theatre in 2015, the play centers around Anna and Lilly, sisters whose long-defined roles in each other’s lives are dramatically altered when a mysterious stranger enters their midst.

On their yearly trip to their late father’s moldy old cabin on Cape Cod, Anna, Lilly, and Anna’s novelist husband Malcolm slip into familiar patterns; Lilly tries to defend her latest failed romance; Anna, in usual overprotective mode, picks at Lilly for her bad choices; and Malcolm talks to himself about mold, death, lust and feeling like “a pamphlet between two related tomes.” When Lilly returns to the cabin with a dust-covered, oddly poetic stranger she’s picked up during a midnight drive, their family pilgrimage takes a startling—and highly amusing—detour.

SisterPlayWebLarger-wpcf_680x294Chester Theatre Company Producing Artistic Director Daniel Elihu Kramer directs the production. “I’m in love with this play,” said Kramer. “I love these characters, and their story moves and charms me. No matter how old we get, we are also still the children we once were. Being with our siblings takes us back to our childhood, for good, bad, or both.”

Appearing in the play are husband and wife James Barry (Malcolm) and Tara Franklin (Anna), playing spouses for the first time. James first appeared at CTC in the 2011 season as Dr. Faustus in Wittenberg and returned for the 2013 World Premiere of Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik’s Arms on Fire. His stage credits include the first national tour of Million Dollar Quartet, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (The Public Theatre and on Broadway), Next to Normal (The Arden), as well as work with Irish Rep (NY and Chicago), Drury Lane (Chicago), Connecticut Repertory Theatre, The New Theatre (Kansas City), and several credits at Berkshire Theatre Group where his favorites include roles in The Caretaker, Tommy, A Dream Play and This Is Our Youth.

Tara Franklin’s numerous regional appearances include roles in The Homecoming, The Lion In Winter, Birthday Boy, The Guardsman, Ghosts, A Man For All Seasons, Educating Rita, Amadeus, Equus, and The Misanthrope at Berkshire Theatre Group. She appeared Off-Broadway in Sleep No More at Punchdrunk @ The McKittrick Hotel, and at the Nebraska Shakespeare Festival in Henry V, Love’s Labors Lost, King Lear, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Other credits include Translations, The Trojan Women, Red Noses, and Misalliance at Connecticut Repertory Theatre; Manuscript Found in Saragossa with the Lookingglass Theatre Company; and Gravid Water at Chicago’s Improv Olympic. Tara can also be seen in the film Labor Day. She and James Barry have a five-year-old son.

Justin Campbell (William Casy) made his CTC debut in The Turn of the Screw. Among his New York credits are Andrei Serban’s Hamlet at the Public Theater; Julius Caesar, directed by Karen Coonrod, Andorra, directed by Liviu Ciulei, and Saved, directed by Robert Woodruff at Theatre For A New Audience. Regional credits include A Steady Rain at American Stage; Peter Pan and Wendy, In The Jungle of Cities, The Taming of the Shrew, and Man and Superman at American Repertory Theater; and UncleVanya and Waiting For Godot at Boston Art Theater, of which he is a founding member. Justin has worked extensively in film and television and can be seen in The Hurt Locker, Detachment, The 27 Club, The Naked Brothers Band, 9A, Andy Across the Water and From the Future With Love.

Therese Plaehn (Lilly) returns to Chester Theatre Company following her widely praised performance in the 2015 hit Blink. Among her numerous New York credits are The Heidi Chronicles on Broadway; A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, based on the writings of Daniel Foster Wallace, at The Public Theater; and Family Play (1979-present) at New Ohio Theatre. Regionally Therese has been seen in Our Town at the Huntington Theatre, Paradise Lost at American Repertory Theater, Dying City at Stonington Opera House, and North Shore Fish at Gloucester Stage. Her many television appearances include roles in Mr. Robot, American Odyssey, Blue Bloods, Onion NewsNetwork, Onion News Empire, and BBC’s 12:21 Demetri Martin Special. Therese is also a contributing writer/producer for Pretty Good Friends, a comedy production company, and holds Irish citizenship.

Director Daniel Elihu Kramer served as the company’s Associate Artistic Director from 2012 to 2015, taking over the role of Producing Artistic Director for the 2016 season. Over the years he has earned a national reputation for his award-winning work as a director, playwright, filmmaker, and educator. CTC audiences know his directing work from past productions, including the immensely popular The Amish Project, The Turn of the Screw, Tryst, and Blink, which won him Best Director honors on Berkshire Record Magazine’s The Best of 2016 list. Daniel also wrote this year’s season opener My Jane and the 2011 hit Pride@Prejudice. Of the first-time on-stage pairing of James Barry and Tara Franklin, he said “CTC and Berkshire area audiences know these marvelous actors well. It feels a little like cheating to put them all on stage together.”

Sister Play runs through August 14th at the Chester Town Hall, 15 Middlefield Road, Chester, MA, on Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 8 p.m., and Thursday, Friday, and Sunday at 2 p.m. There will be a Talkback following the Thursday matinees and Saturday evening shows and a Cast Conversation following the Friday matinees. There will also be a Panel Discussion following the Sunday, August 7, 2 p.m. show. Tickets can be purchased online at chestertheatre.tix.com or by phone at 413.354.7771.

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