Theresa Rebecks’s “Mauritius” Comes to Oldcastle Theatre

Lovers of black and white thirties film noir  or those who appreciate” skillfully written mystery plays such as Deathtrap or fans of Mametesque tough talking, somewhat sleazy  characters with one foot in the underworld should run to Oldcastle Theatre to see Theresa Rebeck’s flirting with disaster thriller Mauritius opening Friday July 21.

Stamp collecting is far more risky than one might think. After their mother’s death two estranged half-sisters discover a book of stamps that may include the crown jewel for collectors. One sister tries to collect on the windfall, while the other resists for sentimental reasons. In this gripping tale, a seemingly simple sale becomes dangerous when three seedy, high-stakes collectors enter the sister’s world, willing to do anything to claim the rare find as their own.

Ms. Rebeck who has written for such television dramas as NYPD Blue and Law & Order and who served as showrunner for NBC’s Smash has written a tense, intriguing play that will have audience on the edge of their seats. A part-time resident of Dorset, Ms. Rebeck had a play earlier this summer at Dorset Theatre Festival. She lives part-time in Dorset.

Variety described the play this way: “The five characters in Mauritius pair up and face off in shifting configurations, the emotionally fraught edges of their twisty encounters made all the more intriguing by the fat that items as apparently as innocuous as postage stamps fuel the friction.” The play was presented on Broadway by the Manhattan Theatre Club.

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The cast features two actors making their Oldcastle debuts and three long-time members of the company. Meredith Meurs plays Jackie, a young woman with money troubles who appears to another character as “damaged.” Last season She appeared in the Oldcastle production of City of Conversation and in previous seasons with the company was seen in Doubt and The Glass Menagerie among other plays. She is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Doria Bramante plays her half-sister Mary and is appearing for the first time with Oldcastle. She is also a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She has acted with New York’s Vineyard Theatre, Shakespeare and company Teatro Franco Parenti in Milan and had the honor of singing the national anthem for President Barack Obama.

Newcomer Gabriel Vaughn plays Dennis, a charming, mysterious fellow with one eye on the money and the other on  a comely female. Mr. Vaughn is a founding member of the Tennessee Shakespeare Company and has made numerous appearances with Shakespeare and company as well as Weston Playhouse and Princeton Rep. Peter Langstaff is Sterling a tough, wealthy, and just possibly psychopathic stamp collector  with ties to shady arms deals and various nefarious activities. Langstaff has acted with Oldcastle in plays ranging from the musical Big River to the comedy Around the World in 80 Days to the biographical Grandma Moses: An American Primitive which toured to the Dayton Art Institute following its run in Bennington.

Associate Artistic Director, Richard Howe makes his first acting appearance of the season following designing the set for Moonlight and Magnolias. He has played everything from  the MC in Cabaret to numerous Vermonters in Judevine to a host of Londoners and Parisians in A Tale of Two Cities. Howe plays Philip the angry proprietor of a stamp store who is not above  scamming and cheating his customers if the opportunity arises.

“Ms Rebeck writes crackling, clever dialogue and weaves a plot that will keep audiences guessing,” said director, Eric Peterson. “The play is an ironic meditation on obsession. Audience members might well argue about which character to route for while some may convinced that none of them are without major character flaws but everyone will sitting on the edge of their seat right up until the final moment of the play.”

Roy Hamlin has designed the set. The costumes are by Ursula McCarty, lighting design by David V Groupe and the sound is the creation of Cory Wheat. The play runs through august 6th. For reservations of further information contact Oldcastle Theatre by calling 802-4470564 or visit their website at: oldcastetheatre.org.

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