Oldcastle Theatre to Presents World Premiere of Morogiello Play
‘The Consul, the Tramp and America’s Sweetheart,’ an award-winning play, will receive its world premiere opening on Friday, September 2, at Bennington’s Oldcastle Theatre. Playwright John Morogiello has had two earlier works presented by Oldcastle as premieres, ‘Engaging Shaw’ and ‘Play Date.’ Both have since been produced in numerous productions. Morogiello has several awards including the Kennedy Center Fellowship of the Americas and the Holland New Voices Playwright Award.
‘The Consul, the Tramp and America’s Sweetheart,’ is about Charles Chaplin and silent screen star Mary Pickford, known as America’s Sweetheart, who became the head of United Artists, the film studio she founded with her husband, actor Douglas Fairbanks, along with director D.W. Griffith and Chaplin.
Chaplin’s movie character the Little Tramp was the most popular film comedian during the 1920s. As the play opens in 1937, he is about to begin shooting his first talking picture, ‘The Great Dictator,’ which caused a sensation for its satirization of Adolf Hitler. Georg Gyssling, the German Consul, visits Pickford to convince her to prevent Chaplin from making the movie
Elizabeth Aspenlieder, a veteran of 20 seasons with Shakespeare and Company, plays Pickford; David Joseph, an 11-year veteran of Shakespeare and Company, plays Chaplin.Lori Vega is making her Oldcastle debut as Miss Hollombee, Pickford’s ambitious assistant. Paul Romero is returning to Oldcastle where he delighted audiences in several productions. Oldcastle’s producing artistic director Eric Peterson directs “It is a pleasure to once again offer a play by John Morogiello,” Peterson said. “John is a talented writer who crafts plays that are very different one from another. ‘Engaging Shaw’ was a Shavian-like comedy of manners; ‘Play Date,’ a ribald farce, and ‘The Consul, the Tramp and America’s Sweetheart’ is a comedic look at the fraught time in history as seen through the eyes of tinsel town luminaries. He has made Chaplin and Pickford living, breathing human beings, not merely screen icons. The German Consul Georg Gyssling is also a historic figure who, in John’s perception, is a complicated and many-layered bureaucrat who happens to be a Nazi. The play is comedic and thought provoking. You might call it a laugh-filled history lesson.” Choreographer Ron Ray is working with Peterson staging some of the moments reenacted from some of Chaplin’s legendary silent movies. The production will run through September 18. For tickets or information, visit the website at oldcastletheatre.org or call 802-447-0564.