Adirondack Theatre Festival Opener: A Small Town’s ‘Urban Legend’
A play in the form of a ghost story told by sixteen characters – all played by one actress – opens the Adirondack Theatre Festival’s 17th season on June 23 at the Charles R. Wood Theatre in downtown Glens Falls.
“The K of D is a spooky, summertime show; we’ve described it as a solo Stand By Me, the movie based on the Stephen King story,” said Mark Fleischer, the Adirondack Theatre Festival’s Producing Artistic Director.
The K of D is the work of playwright Laura Schelhardt; it was debuted in 2008 in Washington D.C. by the Wooly Mammoth Theatre Company and was staged by the Seattle Rep in January to critical acclaim.
“It’s a play about urban legends, although, as Schelhardt says, it’s curious that most so-called urban legends take place in rural areas,” said Fleischer.
In this urban legend, a young girl appears to have received “a kiss of death” from her dying brother that transformed her and the community.
Fleischer said he was introduced to the play in 2006 when he was working at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center in New London, Connecticut.
“Laura was one of the playwrights-in-residence at the National Playwrights Conference and her play was one of the highlights of the summer. I remember being blown away by the readings under a giant tree, and the script has been in my mind as a show to produce at ATF since I first interviewed for the position in 2007. The show’s setting in a lakeside community, its summertime ghost story atmosphere and powerful story telling as a one-woman show makes it the perfect fit for ATF and its audiences,” said Fleischer.
‘The K of D” advances the Adirondack Theatre Festival’s mission of producing new American plays unlikely to be seen in mainstream, commercial venues, said Fleischer.
Playing multiple characters is Lesley Gurule, a New York-based actress.
“We needed someone versatile enough to play characters of every age and background, who could convincingly play both genders,” said Fleischer. “Last year, when we casting “What a Glorious Feeling,” people said we could never find someone to play Gene Kelly, but we did. And this year we found an actor who was right for this role.”
Mathew Earnest will direct “The K of D.”
“I always tell ATF interns to stay close to the people they’re working with, because their fellow interns will be their colleagues some day,” said Fleischer, explaining how he chose Mathew Earnest to direct this production.
The two interned together at Dallas Theater Center. Earnest went on to work with Mabou Mines, the Drama League and several other companies.
“Mathew Earnest has a background in experimental theater, but it’s his command of traditional theater that made him my first choice to direct this play,” said Fleischer. “He’s a storyteller.”
A preview of “The K of D” will be presented June 22. For tickets to the show, or for more information, call the ATF box office at 874-0800 or visit their website.