A.R. Gurney's poignant coming of age drama/memory play What I Did Last Summer, presented by
Retro Productions and directed by Ric Sechrest, will begin performances on
November 7 at the Spoon Theater (38
West 38th Street). This is the first New York City presentation
of the show since its original 1983 production.
"In the summer of 1945, in a community on the Canadian shore of Lake Erie, one American family is
beginning to come apart at the seams. Fourteen year-old Charlie Higgins has
flunked Latin and is supposed to be doing some serious studying this summer,
but would rather go swimming or play boyish pranks with his best friend Ted. Or
hang out with Bonny, the girl he likes. Charlie's mother Grace has had little
success in controlling either him or his older sister, Elsie. Although the
family accepts the lack of a strong male presence in their lives (Grace's
husband is currently stationed in the Pacific), none of them are used to the
responsibilities (and freedoms) it brings.
Wanting to earn some extra money, Charlie answers an ad for a handyman
from Anna Trumbull - known as the 'Pig Woman' - a free-thinking, unconventional
soul who has long been seen as a pariah by the town locals. Taking a liking to
Charlie, Anna urges him to find his hidden potential with art lessons, and to
live as she does, by rejecting the conformity of the material world. Grace
however, is not at all pleased with her son's involvement with Anna and vows to
stop it. At the same time, Grace faces a crisis of her own, as her personal
need for comfort causes her to consider an act she once thought was impossible.
By the time the summer ends, many of the characters will undergo life-altering
experiences. And while the status quo will seem to be preserved (at least on
the outside), the seeds of change will have been sown in this story detailing
the wonders of the individual against the crushing conformity of society - a
conformity which would return in full force once the war ended," explain press
The cast of What I Did
Last Summer features Lauren Coppola, Heather E. Cunningham, Lauren Kelston,
Tim Romero, Ben Schnickel and Aubrie N. Therrien. Actor/director/educator Ric
Sechrest has helmed numerous productions throughout New
York, Ohio and Maine and has directed everything from Sam
Shepard to Christopher Durang to Samuel Beckett. He directed Still Life for Retro Productions last
February. A member of Actors' Equity and AFTRA, he appeared in Vaclav Havel's
Redevelopment with Nomad Theatrical Company.
He holds a BFA in acting from Syracuse
University, an MA in Directing from
the University of Maine, and an MFA in acting from Ohio University.
A not-for-profit theatre company (and a resident company at
the Spoon Theater), it is the mission of Retro Productions to present works of
retro theatre. Retro is defined as "involving, relating to, or reminiscent
of things past." Retro Productions strives to tell good theatrical stories
which have a historical perspective - with an emphasis on the 20th century - in
order to broaden our own understanding of the world we live in. Past
productions include Casey Kurtti's Catholic
School Girls (2005), Doris Baizley's Mrs.
California (2006) and Emily Mann's Still
Life (2007). Visit www.retroproductions.org.
Running through November 24, What I Did Last Summer will be performed at the Spoon Theater,
located at 38 West 38th Street
(between 5th & 6th Avenues) on the 5th Floor.
Performances will take place on Monday, Wednesday-Friday at
8PM, Saturday at 3PM & 8PM and Sunday at 3PM. There will be no show on
Wednesday, November 21, Thursday, November 22, and no matinee on Saturday,
Tickets: $25, $18 for students and seniors. TDF vouchers are
accepted based on availability one half hour prior to show time.
Reservations: 212-352-3101, 866-811-4111