At 22, rue Academy, the AFD theater is full of activities. There are only a few rehearsals left before opening night, and it’s time to sort out the final issues. The technical team reviews their light and sound signals, while Charlotte Kelley, props and decorators, adds the finishing touches.
âMost people don’t realize how many people it takes to put on a show,â said Ginger Webb, Arlington resident and co-production manager. âMore than a dozen people worked on the construction and painting the set. Volunteers crafted the curtains and pillows, and even re-upholstered an old Victorian sofa to match the dark themes of the set.
Another dozen volunteers take care of the costumes, hair and make-up, advertising, ticketing, refreshments, lights, sound, inauguration and set design. âOnly the director and the stage manager receive a modest allowance. For everyone else, it’s a labor of love, âshe said.
The original gas lamp
“Angel Street” is a psychological thriller. Jack tries to make his wife, Bella, think she’s going crazy, so he can get her to hire her and get her money. Set in Victorian England, when women had few rights and a limited ability to hold property or wealth, it is the story of choosing to succumb to someone else’s manipulation or to fight for what is true.
If you’ve ever heard of the term “gas lighting,” it comes from this room. In fact, the original play and a subsequent film starring Ingrid Bergman and Angela Lansbury, who is making her debut, was called “Gaslight”.
Jack Manningham is played by Paul Murphy of Arlington. A seasoned actor and director in many local theaters (Harry Pepper in “Barefoot in the Park”, The Captain in “The Sound of Music”; Will Rogers in “Will Rogers’ Follies”), Murphy usually plays cool guys and heroes. romantic with nothing to hide. The surreptitious Jack is therefore an exciting new challenge.
âJack is a total narcissist,â Murphy said. “He can activate the spell whenever he wants.” He has every right and for himself feels that whatever happens he will get what he wants. He slowly shakes Bella’s self-esteem, building a case against her in anticipation of the day she collapses and lets him have it all. He paused for a moment. “It’s the darkest, most complicated role I have ever played.”
The role of Bella, Jack’s obedient and helpless Victorian wife, is played by Emma Kennedy of Somerville. By day Emma works as a therapist at the Northeast Center for Youth and Young Adults in Malden, and she feels like she knows the character well.
“I have seen situations similar to Bella’s,” she said. âThe pain that occurs when you are overwhelmed by someone whose desire for control dominates your life, who makes you doubt your own reality and constantly shames you. Shame is such a powerful manipulator, and it is hardly ever useful.
One of the instruments in Jack’s campaign to shame Bella is an alluring shameless maid named Nancy, played by Emily Murgo, another Arlingtonian. âOn the surface, Nancy is a flirt,â said Emily. “But once she catches Jack’s attention, her ambition grows.” She likes to display Jack’s attraction to her in front of Bella. It’s a power trip for her, makes her feel superior to the hostess. Deep down, she is more and more aware of what she would really like to be in life – who is the second Mrs. Manningham.
Does Nancy have any idea what a deceptive Jack Manningham man could be?
âNot a clue,â Emily laughs.
Paul R. Dixon is leading. â’Angel Street’ is a period drama, but it is extremely relevant to us today,â he said. âThis is the story of an abused woman suffering from the incredible power of her husband’s lies. How she finally becomes strong enough to break free is a powerful drama. And these days, when each half of our country thinks the other half is fooled, a Victorian lady’s gas lighting can strike a chord. “
Tyler Chapin of Arlington has a small but essential role at the end of the play. Other cast members include Wayne Vargas of Taunton, Jim Muzzi of Medford, and Sally Kindleberger of Lincoln. The set design was created by Charlie Carr, another Arlington resident involved in the show.
About the show
The show will open on Friday December 3, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at December 8, 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 and 18, and Sunday mornings on December 3, 5, 12 and 19.
Tickets cost $ 25 and can be purchased at BUY TICKETS | friends of arlington.
Masks and proof of vaccination compulsory.
The AFD Theater is located at 22 Academy Street, across from the Arlington Center for the Arts. 781-646-5922.
From 3 to 19 December 2021: AFD thriller “La rue des anges”
This report by Ginger Webb, who is the show’s production manager, was released on Wednesday, December 1, 2021.