Bennington Community Theater to stage 'The Dining Room'

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BENNINGTON — The Bennington Community Theater will offer three performances of A.R. Gurney's comedy "The Dining Room" on May 3 and 4 at 7:30 p.m. and May 5 at 2 p.m. at Oldcastle Theatre at 331 Main St., Bennington. Christine Decker, Oldcastle's director of education, will direct the show.

"Nobody comes near a dining room any more . Nowadays, people eat in kitchens, or in the living room, standing around, balancing their plates like jugglers. Soon they'll be eating in bathrooms. Well why not?" Thus muses one of the characters in the highly acclaimed off-Broadway hit "The Dining Room," a richly woven, imaginative, affectionate and often hilarious look at a vanishing breed — the American upper middle class.

The play is set in a dining room, which becomes an emblem for an entire culture. Who are these people in the dining room? Well, there are 50 of them. From different families, different eras, different social/economic classes, and they all have stories to tell. A.R. Gurney was a playwright who was adept at poking fun of WASPs and their foibles. "The Dining Room" is a comedy of short scenes that sometimes overlap and culminate in a party to celebrate life.

Robert Ebert is serving as assistant director. He filled in early in the rehearsal process while Christine Decker spent 10 days overseas on Oldcastle's London theater tour. Kristen and Jennifer Marcoux, Ingrid Schaaphok and Leslie Bremer are designing costumes and props. Melissa Hepler is returning as stage manager. Set and lighting are being handled by a small group of volunteers, including Robert Ebert, Tyler Howard and Tim Scoggins. Oldcastle staff members Ursula McCarty, David Group and Richard Howe are offering technical and design advice to help members of the Bennington Community Theater.

The actors all will play multiple characters. The cast will include; Rick Burgoon, Mike Chapman, Phyllis Chapman, Mike Cutler, Erika Floriani, Desire Kipp, Jana Lillie, Tess McHugh, Michelle Marrocco, Evan Pringle, Ingrid Schaaphok, Miriam Silver and Danny Townsend.

This is the Bennington Community Theater's second production of the season, following December's staging of "The Curious Savage." A 2019 fall production and a spring show in 2020 are scheduled.

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