"The Pirate Plays" set sail for the Quick Center, September 24-26, 2014

Two award-winning monodramas based on historical fact coming to Wien Theatre

Image: Pirate PlayFairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts will come alive with daring and dark deeds on the high seas as "The Pirate Plays"set sail for three performances, 8 p.m., Wednesday through Friday, September 24-26, 2014. Seasoned adult theatre-goers will enjoy the two award-winning monodramas based on historical fact and written by Fairfield University lecturer Steven Otfinoski, which retell the colorful lives of Stede Bonnet, the Gentleman Pirate, and Anne Bonny, Pirate Queen. Performances take place in the Quick Center's Wien Experimental Theatre. Tickets are $20 general admission, $5 for students.

Stede Bonnet and Anne Bonny were two of the most infamous figures of Piracy's Golden Age"Bonnet was a well-to-do Barbados planter who one day decided to chuck it all, leave his nagging wife, and become a pirate, even though he knew nothing of the sea and ships," explained Otfinoski. "At first, Bonnet enjoys the adventure and remains a gentleman among his crew of cutthroats, but eventually the pirate life changes him and the story turns darker.  I felt compelled to put this strange man's story on the stage." A staged production of the play became a winning entry in the One-Act Connecticut Playwrights Festival at the Warner Theatre in Torrington. For a companion piece, Otfinoski found his inspiration in the story of Anne Bonny, who married a soldier to escape from her tyrannical father and moved with him to the pirate island of New Providence in the Bahamas. "Here she fell in love with the colorful pirate captain Jack Rackham, better known as 'Calico Jack,' and cast her lot with him," said the playwright. "In the pirate life, she met other unforgettable characters whom she encounters in 'The Pirate Plays' including Pierre Bouspeut, the 'Pansy Pirate,' and Mary Read, who disguised herself as a man to join Rackham's crew."

Bonnet and Bonny are brought to life in "The Pirate Plays" by Stephen Thomas Kelly and Sally Arlette-Garcia, both of New Britain, who played the roles last year in a production at the Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts and Cultural Center in Middletown.  Director Kelly DiMauro staged The Pirate Plays in Middletown and previously directed Otfinoski's Table Talk.

Playwright Steven Otfinoski was a member of the first graduating class of Fairfield University's MFA in Creative Writing Program and teaches composition and creative writing in the English Department. He has written more than 50 plays, and his work has been performed in New York by the Lincoln Center Play Series, the Quaigh Theater, the American Theater of Actors, and the Actors' Playhouse. He is a member of Squarewrights, a local playwrights' group that has staged more than a dozen of his short plays in their "Quickies" series at various venues, including the past two summers in the lobby of the American Shakespeare Festival Theater in Stratford. He is also the author of more than 160 books for young adults.

Each performance of "The Pirate Plays"will immediately be followed by a talkback panel discussion. Wednesday night, Theater Department head Dr. Martha Lomonaco will moderate a discussion with the playwright, director and actors. Thursday, Otfinoski will moderate a panel of history faculty members, including Dr. William Abbott and Dr. Silvia Marsans-Sakly. Friday's panel will be moderated by Theater Department faculty member Dr. Lynne Porter and include Dr. Anna Lawrence of the history department and amateur naval historian and lecturer Robert Begin.

Tickets are available through the Quick Center Box Office: (203) 254-4010, or toll-free 1-877-ARTS-396 (1-877-278-7396). Tickets can also be purchased online at www.quickcenter.com.

The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts is located on the campus of Fairfield University at 1073 North Benson Road in Fairfield, Connecticut. Entrance to the Quick Center is through the Barlow Road gate at 200 Barlow Road. Free, secure parking is available. Access for people with disabilities is available throughout the Quick Center for audience members and performers. Hearing amplification devices are available upon request at the Box Office. Fairfield University is located off exit 22 of Interstate-95. For further information and directions, call (203) 254-4010 or 1-877-278-7396, or visit www.quickcenter.com.

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Media Contact: Mike Horyczun, (203) 254-4000 ext. 2647, mhoryczun@fairfield.edu

Posted on September 15, 2014

Vol. 47, No. 52

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