U.S. premiere of “Peace in Our Time”

NEWS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Lucy Pollak
lucy@lucypr.com (818) 887-1499 (for media only)

U.S. premiere of
Peace in Our Time
by Noël Coward


Complacency or freedom: Which would you choose?
October 20 – December 11

Artwork: Mila Sterling

NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA – September 15, 2011 – What would life be like if the Nazis had successfully invaded and occupied Britain? Antaeus, L.A.’s multiple award-winning classical theater company, presents the U.S. premiere of Noël Coward’s rarely produced anti-war drama, Peace In Our Time. Casey Stangl directs the fully double-cast production of a new adaptation, with music, by Barry Creyton. Four gala openings, two with each cast, take place on October 20, 21, 22 and 23, with performances continuing through December 11 at The Antaeus Company‘s interim North Hollywood home at Deaf West Theatre.

Set in a London pub during the 1940s, Peace In Our Time imagines English life under Nazi occupation. Complacency or freedom – which would you choose? Coward conceived the idea while in Paris shortly after the Liberation. He wrote, “I began to suspect that the physical effect of four years of intermittent bombing is far less damaging to the intrinsic character of a nation than the spiritual effect of four years of enemy occupation.”

“This play has a very different feel from the urbane amusements that come to mind when we think of Noël Coward,” suggests Stangl. “Like his other work, it’s provocative and has wonderfully funny moments, but it also reveals his deep sense of patriotism and unabashed love of country. The story of a great nation brought to its knees and finding its way back from that is very potent right now. All these years later we’re still talking about ‘peace in our time,’ but today it seems more elusive than ever.”

Creyton’s adaptation, which Stangl calls a “work of art,” adds emotional resonance to the original by adding nine of Coward’s lesser-known songs. Coward’s distinctive Music Hall style ditties with their incisive and wickedly ironic lyrics give the piece an authentic sensibility, at the same time offering audiences a deeper connection with the characters and their tribulations.

“When [former artistic director] Jeanie Hackett approached me about adapting Peace in Our Time to include music, a moment’s consideration was all I needed to agree,” says Creyton, who collaborated closely with both The Noël Coward Foundation and Antaeus. “Given that most London pubs of my youth contained a sturdy upright piano, there is a logic to weaving songs into the scenes to provide musical subtext for the action and relationships.”

Written in 1946, Peace in Our Time opened 63 years ago at the Theatre Royal, Brighton (July 15, 1947), moved to the Lyric Theatre, London on July 22, and finally to the Aldwych Theatre on September 29, where it ran for 167 performances. It has never before been performed in the United States – perhaps due to the fact that the cast includes 22 speaking roles. But it’s the large cast, together with the complexity of relationships among the characters, that makes Peace In Our Time an ideal choice for Antaeus with its 100-plus classically trained members and A2 Ensemble of young professionals.
“Part of the Antaeus mission is to train the next generation of classical actors,” notes co-artistic director John Sloan. “All Antaeus productions are fully double cast. This production in particular features a lot of our younger, A2 actors sharing roles with company members who have mentored them, so it will offer an unusually exciting opportunity to see how different the same play can be when performed by two equally excellent but extremely different sets of actors.”

The double-cast ensemble includes 46 actors sharing 22 speaking roles: Josh Clark and Steve Hofvendahl as Fred Shattock; Eve Gordon and Lily Knight as Nora Shattock; Danielle K. Jones and Abby Wilde as Doris Shattock; Jason Dechert and Brian Tichnell as Stevie Shattock; Bill Brochtrup and JD Cullum as Chorley Bannister; Karianne Flaathen and Zoe Perry as Lilly Blake; Drew Doyle and Buck Zachary as Alfie Blake; Emily Chase and Rebekah Tripp as Janet Braid; Anna Mathias and Amelia White as Mrs. Grainger; John Wallace Combs and Philip Proctor as Mr. Grainger; Graham Hamilton, John Francis O’Brien, and Adam Meyer sharing the role of Billy Grainger; Raleigh Holmes and Rebecca Mozo as Lyia Vivian; Daniel Bess and Christopher Guilmet as George Bourne; Jason Henning and Rob Nagle as Albrecht Richter; Mark Doerr and Peter Larney as Dr. Venning; Kendra Chell and Ann Noble as Alma Boughton; Joseph Fuhr and Patrick Wenk-Wolff as Kurt Foster; Etta Devine and Rosalyn Mitchell as Phyllis Mere; Belen Greene and Joanna Strapp as Gladys Mott; Jesse Sharp and Paul Culos as Bobby Paxton; Melinda Peterson and Susan Boyd Joyce as Mrs. Massiter; John Allee and Richard Levinson as Archie; and Chris Clowers as a soldier.

Musical direction for Peace In Our Time is by Richard Levinson; set design is by Tom Buderwitz; lighting design is by Jeremy Pivnick; costume design is by Jessica Olson; sound design is by John Zalewski; properties design is by Heather Ho; and the production stage manager is Cate Cundiff.

In addition to a multitude of stage, film and television credits as an actor (including the role of Hector Hulot in last season’s award-winning Antaeus production of Cousin Bette), Peace In Our Time adaptor Barry Creyton is an author, TV writer, director and playwright, a former BBC World Service broadcaster and recipient of the Kessell Memorial Award for contributions to Australian Theater as Actor, Playwright and Director. His devotion to the work of Noël Coward has lasted as long as his own extensive career in the theater; he has appeared in several of Coward’s plays and performed many of his songs in cabaret. Barry’s London doctor and good friend was Patrick Woodcock, Noël’s doctor, and Gladys Calthrop, Noël’s celebrated designer, was a friend and theater-going companion of his, so it seemed inevitable that he met the Master socially in 1970, just prior to his knighthood. “It was like meeting God,” he says solemnly, “except, I think, that Noël Coward had a better sense of construction.”

Casey Stangl has directed for theaters across the country including South Coast Repertory, The Guthrie Theater, Denver Center Theatre Company, Actors’ Theater of Louisville’s Humana Festival, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Portland Stage, HERE in New York, The Jungle Theater in Minneapolis and Alabama Shakespeare Festival. Casey was the founding artistic director of Eye of the Storm Theatre in Minneapolis, a company devoted to new work and for which she was named Minnesota Artist of the Year. She is now based in Los Angeles where her credits include numerous productions at the Falcon Theater, Chalk Repertory’s Flash Festival and the world premiere of Susan Johnston’s How Cissy Grew at the El Portal Theatre, named Best New Play at the 2009 LA Weekly Theater Awards.

The Antaeus Company strives to keep classical theater vibrantly alive by presenting professional productions with a top-flight ensemble company of actors. Taking their company name from the Titan who gained strength by touching the Earth, Antaeus members – many of whom are familiar to movie and television audiences – regain creative strength by returning to the wellspring of their craft: live theater performances of great classical plays. Members of the company and its board span a wide range of age, ethnicity and experience; they have performed on Broadway, at major regional theaters across the country, in film and television, and on local stages, and are the recipients of multiple accolades including Tony, Los Angeles and New York Drama Critics Circle, Ovation, LA Weekly, and Back Stage Garland nominations and awards.
Performances take place October 20 through December 11, on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays @ 8 pm and on Sundays @ 2:30 pm except Sunday, October 23 which will be at 4 pm. There will be no performance, on Thursday, Nov. 24 (Thanksgiving). Tickets are $30 on Thursdays and Fridays and $34 on Saturdays and Sundays, except opening weekend performances, which are $40 (Oct. 20 & 21) and $75 (Oct. 22 & 23) and include pre- and post-show receptions. Preview performances take place Oct. 13-19 on the same schedule; tickets to previews are $15.

The Antaeus Company is located at 5112 Lankershim Blvd (inside Deaf West Theatre) in North Hollywood, CA 91601. Free parking is available in the uncovered Citibank lot on Lankershim Blvd. just south of Otsego St. The theater is air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible. For reservations and information, call (818) 506-1983 or go to www.antaeus.org.

Details for Calendar Listings
Peace In Our Time

WHAT:
Peace In Our Time – The U.S. premiere of Noël Coward’s drama poses a most intriguing and terrifying question: What if the Nazis had successfully invaded and occupied Britain? Set in a London Pub during the 1940s, this new adaptation by Antaeus company member Barry Creyton incorporates 9 of Coward’s lesser-known songs.

WHO:
Written by Noël Coward
Adapted by Barry Creyton
Directed by Casey Stangl
Musical Direction by Richard Levinson

WHEN:
Previews: Oct. 13 -19
Performances: Oct. 20 – Dec. 11:
Tuesday @ 8 pm: Oct. 18 only (preview)
Wednesday @ 8 pm: Oct. 19 only (preview)
Thursdays @ 8 pm: Oct. 13 (preview), 20 (Press Opening), 27; Nov. 3, 10, 17; Dec. 1, 8 (dark Nov. 24)
Fridays
@ 8 pm: Oct. 14 (preview), 21 (Press Opening), 28; Nov. 4, 11, 18, 25; Dec. 2, 9
Saturdays
@ 8 pm: Oct. 15 (preview), 22 (Gala Opening), 29; Nov. 5, 12, 19, 26; Dec. 3, 10
Sundays
@ 2:30 pm: Oct. 16 (preview). 30; Nov. 6, 13, 20, 27; Dec. 4, 11 (no. 2:30 perf. on Oct. 23)
Sunday @ 4 pm: Oct. 23 only (Gala Opening)

WHERE:
THE ANTAEUS COMPANY@ Deaf West Theatre
5112 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood CA 91601
(one block south of Magnolia; free parking available in Citibank lot on Lankershim Blvd. South of Otsego St.)

HOW:
(818) 506-1983 or www.Antaeus.org

TICKETS:
Thursdays and Fridays: $30
Saturdays and Sundays: $34
Press Openings (All press openings include a post-show reception with the actors):
Friends and Family Openings (October 20 & 21): $40
Gala Openings (October 22 & 23): $75
Previews: $15

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