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Next Up at WEPG: Marie Jones’s Stones in His Pockets

West End Players Guild’s 107th season continues with Marie Jones’s bittersweet Irish comedy Stones in His Pockets, November 10th-19th at the theatre in the Union Avenue Christian Church. Steve Callahan directs the show, which features performances by Jason Meyers (as Jake Quinn, and others) and Jared Sanz-Agero (as Charlie Conlon, and others).

The play offers a sharply satiric look at what happens when an American movie company sets up shop in a down-on-its-luck village in County Kerry, Ireland, to film a major motion picture. Enticed by the prospect of making more money as film extras every day than most can make in a week, everyone in the village wants in on the action. Most do get involved but some are left behind, and the village soon learns that there can be a steep price to pay for a few weeks of easy money and Hollywood excitement.

We see the story unfold through the eyes of Jake and Charlie, two 30-something lads who, like many of their generation, are still looking for something to make of their lives. We hear the tale told through the voices of a dozen others, ranging from the stuffy English film director to the slinky American starlet to the only surviving Irish extra from the filming of John Wayne’s The Quiet Man. Jake and Charlie play all of the other characters.

Stones in His Pockets made its London debut in 1999 with a four-month West End run that earned the Olivier Award for best comedy. A year later, the show crossed the Atlantic for its Broadway premiere. British theatre critic Charles Spencer of the Telegraph called the show “a delightful piece, offering a chance for two actors to display their virtuosity as they play 15 different characters. But though it is often richly funny, there are sudden glimpses of anger and emotional depth in Stones in His Pockets, too.” Jennifer Lee of the Irish Times called the show “a pitch-perfect two-hander that is entirely absorbing from start to finish.”

Stones in His Pockets will be performed seven times over two weekends at 8 p.m. Thursday (second week only), Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays. All performances are in the theatre at the Union Avenue Christian Church, 733 Union Boulevard in the Central West End. Free parking and the theatre entrance are at the rear of the church. Tickets to the show are now on sale, as are tickets to the remaining two shows of the 2017-18 season, Lauren Gunderson’s Silent Sky (Feb. 9-18) and Hansol Jung’s Cardboard Piano(Apr. 6-15). Click here to buy tickets now.

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Jake Quinn (played by Jason Meyers, L) and Charlie Conlon (Jared Sanz-Agero, R) are two lads on a lark – earning £40 a day for not much work as extras on an American movie being shot in their County Kerry village. But the fun will only last a little while, and they know it. Then the village will have to decide whether they got their money’s worth for the piece of their soul that they sold. Marie Jones’s Stones in His Pockets is wickedly funny, touchingly tragic and oh, so Irish. The show opens November 10th for a two-week run at West End Players Guild. (John Lamb photo)


Congratulations to our Theatre Circle Awards winners

West End Players Guild snagged two of the 2017 Theatre Circle Awards, presented by theatre critics for outstanding work by professional theatre companies in our area.

The cast of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia — Kristin Rion, Michael Cassidy Flynn, Scott De Broux, Andrew Kuhlman, Carl Overly, Jr., Ann Marie Mohr, Anthony Wininger, Nicole Angeli, Erin Renee Roberts, John Wolbers, Jaz Tucker and Mason Hunt — won for Best Ensemble in a Drama; Ellie Schwetye directed their performance.

And…..

Maggie Wininger took home the trophy as Outstanding Actress in a Comedy for her performance in the title role of Willy Russell’s Educating Rita, directed by Jan Meyer.

Congratulations as well to actors from three West End shows also nominated for Theatre Circle Awards:

Tom Kopp earned a nomination for outstanding actor in a comedy for his work as Frank in Educating Rita.

Kristin Rion, who played Thomasina in our production of Arcadia, was nominated for outstanding supporting actress in a drama.

And, Jeremy Goldmeier, Emily Johnson, Ariel Roukaerts and Zach Venturella were nominated for best ensemble in a drama for their work in Vladimir Zelevinsky’s Manifest|Destiny, directed by Steve Callahan.