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The Tenth Man by Paddy Chayefsky

September 17 - October 16, 2010
Gunston Theatre Two (directions)

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By the time of his untimely death at 57 in 1981, Paddy Chayefsky was known as one of the most daring and talented American screen writers. His sharply satiric films—like Network, The Hospital, and Altered States—manage to combine laughs and tender moments of intimacy with his habitually wry and critical view of humanity. But cinema was a late frontier for Chayefsky, ventured into only after the writer had conquered television, with such classics of live TV as the drama Marty, and stage, where he had his second Broadway hit in 1959 with an unusual comedy called The Tenth Man, now being revived to open TACT’s 2010–2011 season.

The Tenth Man begins when the old men who belong to a decaying orthodox synagogue in New York City decide to hold a Jewish exorcism to banish the demons that have possessed Evelyn Foreman, the granddaughter of one of their members. But Jewish religious law requires a minyan, or quorum of ten, for the ritual to work, and the amateur exorcists only number nine. They convince a young man who happens to be passing by to complete their group. What follows is an unusual romance punctuated by wit and surprises, as well as Chayefsky’s commentary on religion and faith.

Directing The Tenth Man is William Aitken, who recently directed TACT’s production of Stalag 17. TACT regular Kari Ginsburg, (most recently the bewitched Hollywood siren in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter), will tackle the role of Evelyn Foreman. Steven Quartell is “the tenth man” and the other half of a strange romance with Ginsburg’s possessed young woman. Several standouts from past TACT productions are in the large cast, including Joe Cronin, the dyspeptic father of Life With Father, among many other roles with the company; Craig Miller, the aging husband in Edward Albee’s Seascape; Bill Gordon, TACT jack-of-all-trades, whose roles have ranged from a dead Nazi to the POW barracks leader in Stalag 17; comic Ron Sarro, most recently a vaudevillian in Babes in Arms; Mick Tinder, who was outstanding in Native Son and as the host of An American Century Christmas; and Matthew Meixler,who played both a prisoner and a Nazi guard in Stalag 17. Jim Callery, Paul Danaceau, Richard Fiske, Brendan Haley, and Stephen Rourke make their American Century Theater debuts to complete the cast.

Aitken’s vision will be supported by the artistry of Jameson Shroyer (set design and technical director/master carpenter), Steven Barker (lighting design), Anndi Daleske (properties design), Rip Claassen and Kyler Schmitz (costume design), and Ian Armstrong (sound design). David Olmsted is the stage manager. Rip Claassen is producer.

Running time: 2 hours, 30 minutes (including 2 intermissions)


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