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Barn Playhouse reopens its doors

  • Graham Hancock and Andy Tighe (as Lancelot) rehearse a pantomime fight sequence for the New London Barn Playhouse's "Camelot" at an open rehearsal on June 1, 2018. Sarah Pearson—Monitor staff

  • Daniel Teixeira and Andy Tighe (as Lancelot) rehearse a pantomime fight sequence for the New London Barn Playhouse's "Camelot" at an open rehearsal on June 1, 2018. Sarah Pearson—Monitor staff

  • Fight choreographer Paul West (left) instructs Graham Hancock and Sarah Sargent during an open rehearsal for the New London Barn Playhouse's "Camelot" on June 1, 2018. Sarah Pearson—Monitor staff

  • Graham Hancock (left) and Jake Pedersen rehearse a pantomime fight sequence for the New London Barn Playhouse’s “Camelot” during an open rehearsal on June 1. Sarah Pearson / Monitor staff

  • Monica Owen and Alexander Robertson (stage right) and Graham Hancock and Jake Pedersen (stage left) rehearse a pantomime fight sequence for the New London Barn Playhouse's "Camelot" during an open rehearsal on June 1, 2018. Sarah Pearson—Monitor staff

  • Monica Owen and Alexander Robertson practice a pantomime fight sequence for the New London Barn Playhouse’s “Camelot” at an open rehearsal on June 1. Sarah Pearson / Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Thursday, June 07, 2018

Looking down at his notes, fight choreographer Paul West handed acting intern Jake Pedersen a prop sword.

“It’s an ax, everybody. It’s an ax,” West said, addressing the audience, who giggled in response.

West directed the next steps for Pedersen and his combatant, fellow acting intern Graham Hancock.

“You’re actually the one who dies,” West said to Hancock, eliciting more giggles from the audience.

Dressed in shorts or gym clothes, the interns work through the fight’s steps. This scene is going to be a slow-motion pantomime, Camelot director Russell Garret tells the actors and visitors.

And when it’s time to die:

“Fall quietly,” he said.

Last Friday, the New London Barn Playhouse partnered with the Center for the Arts for a First Friday arts event, offering the community a behind-the-scenes look during an open rehearsal of Camelot.

The acting interns had arrived just four days before. They face full days of rehearsing for the annual Straw Hat Revue, which opens Thursday, and Camelot, which opens June 13. Meanwhile, they also are assigned to a technical crew to work on building sets, sewing costumes or arranging lights two or three days a week. And by the time Camelot opens, it’s time to start rehearsing for the next show, Little Women.

“There’s no question, we ask a lot of them,” said Keith Coughlin, the Barn’s producing artistic director.

That’s why he auditioned more than 1,100 triple-threat actors who can sing, act and dance. Ultimately, 22 offers were made to get the company of 14 acting interns who will eat, sleep and work all on the Barn campus this summer.

“It’s pretty remarkable to fill a room with talented people and let them create,” Coughlin said.

And create they shall, performing six plays over a 12-week season.

For Camelot, created by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, an idealist King Arthur is torn when his wife, Queen Guinevere, falls in love with the knight, Lancelot. For a while, Guinevere remains faithful to Arthur. But when Arthur’s illegitimate son, Mordred, arrives, his machinations result in a tryst between the lovers, throwing the kingdom into a frenzy.

Can Arthur get back the dream of having a kingdom based on honor, dignity and “might for right”?

Joining the acting intern company for Camelot will be three guest actors: Fred Rose as King Arthur, Andy Tighe as Lancelot and Adam Zeph as Merlyn/Pellinore.

Acting interns will play Guinevere (Carly Valancy), Mordred (Gabriel Florentino), Tom of Warwick (Charlie Cloud), Morgan Le Fey (Justine Goggin) and a dozen other characters.

The show will run through June 24. Then, there is only a two-day gap before the next opening night.

2018 summer season

The Straw Hat Revue: June 7 to 9 at 7:30 p.m. and June 9 and 10 at 5 p.m.

“Camelot”: June 13 to 24, Wednesdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m., Thursdays to Saturdays and Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m.

“Little Women”: June 27 to July 8, Wednesdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays to Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 5 p.m. No shows July 4, but additional 2 p.m. matinees on July 3 and 5.

Children’s Theater presents “Play Ball”: June 29 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Children’s Theater presents “Puss in Boots”: July 6 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

“Sylvia”: July 11 to 15, Wednesdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m., Thursdays to Saturdays and Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m.

“42nd Street”: July 18 to Aug. 5, Wednesdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m., Thursdays to Saturdays and Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m.

Children’s Theater presents “Love’s Labour’s Lost”: July 21 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Children’s Theater presents “Giants in the Sky”: July 26 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

“Newsies”: Aug. 8 to 19, Wednesdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m., Thursdays to Saturdays and Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m.

Children’s Theater presents “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”: Aug. 16 and 18 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

“Murder for Two”: Aug. 22 to Sept. 2, Wednesdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m., Thursdays to Saturdays and Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m.

Spotlight Series: July 2, July 23 and Aug. 13 at 5 and 7:30 p.m.

Tickets to mainstage shows range from $20 to $40. There are also flex and season passes available.

Spotlight Series show tickets are $25.

Children’s Theater shows are $15 for ages 15 and older and “pay your age” for those younger than 15 (except for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, $15 for all, and Love’s Labour’s Lost, free outdoor show).

The Straw Hat Revue is free, but tickets can only be reserved in person or by calling 526-6710.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit nlbarn.org.