Pittsfield Players to perform ‘The Innocents’

  • The Pittsfield Players will put on a five-run production of “The Innocents” beginning Friday at the Scenic Theatre in Pittsfield. Courtesy of Jeff Gregoire

  • The Pittsfield Players will put on a five-run production of 'The Innocents' beginning Friday at the Scenic Theatre in Pittsfield. Courtesy of Jeff Gregoire—

  • The Pittsfield Players will put on a five-run production of 'The Innocents' beginning Friday at the Scenic Theatre in Pittsfield. Courtesy of Jeff Gregoire—

  • The Pittsfield Players will put on a five-run production of 'The Innocents' beginning Friday at the Scenic Theatre in Pittsfield. Courtesy of Jeff Gregoire—

  • The Pittsfield Players will put on a five-run production of “The Innocents” beginning Friday at the Scenic Theatre in Pittsfield. Courtesy of Jeff Gregoire

  • The Pittsfield Players will put on a five-run production of 'The Innocents' beginning Friday at the Scenic Theatre in Pittsfield. Courtesy of Jeff Gregoire—

Monitor staff
Published: 4/3/2019 4:03:37 PM

Jeff Gregoire thought he’d seen it all when putting together a stage production.

Then one of his four cast members came down with an illness right before tech week and couldn’t make it to rehearsals. It was a difficult decision, but Gregoire knew in order to put on a quality show, the Pittsfield Players would have to push back its five-performance run of The Innocents.

“It’s kind of a logistical nightmare,” Gregoire said. “We didn’t have the chance to go through it with the full cast and we want to give (the audience) the best possible experience.”

But eager audiences don’t have to wait any longer as opening night at the Scenic Theatre is Friday at 7:30 p.m. There will also be shows Saturday night at 7:30 and a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. The final two productions will be April 12 and 13 at 7:30 p.m.

The Innocents premiered on Broadway in 1950 and is based on the The Turn of the Screw, an 1898 horror novella by Henry James, set in the drawing room of an old country house in England in 1880.

A new governess, Miss Giddens has arrived to look after Master Miles and Miss Flora, an orphaned brother and sister. But Giddens, played by Emily Getchell-Lacey, isn’t the first governess to live in this house and care for these children. But little is known about her predecessor and even less is spoken.

The housekeeper, Mrs. Grose (Beth Champagne) knows what happened to Miss Jessel, who is said to have visited Flora (Carly Griffin) – as a ghost. But how much of that information is Grose willing to share? What should she tell the new governess? And will it scare her away?

“Things start to happen,” Gregoire said. “You have these shadows start to appear and the governess believes these people have come to haunt the children. But is the governess seeing these people on her own?”

Jessel isn’t the only visitor to the household, as the spirit of the former valet, Peter Quint, has been visiting Miles (Radu Dragoiescu). Follow along as Giddens attempts to get to the bottom of what’s been going on in her new household.

The show leaves a lot to the imagination and it’s up to the audience to determine what is reality and what isn’t. This is your classic ghost story and one that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

With such a small cast, it means big roles for Getchell-Lacey, Champagne, Griffin and Dragoiescu. There is a lot of dialogue in this show, sometimes featuring paragraphs and pages of monologues.

“It’s more challenging in a sense that everyone has a whole bunch of lines,” Gregoire said.

Gregoire has never seen the show, and can’t remember it ever being produced in this area. But it’s a play he always anticipated directing after reading it 20 years ago.

“I appreciate a good ghost story and doing a show that makes an audience think,” Gregoire said.

He did some research on the production and got a little insight from his only actor since Dragoiescu had actually read the book.

With period attire and an extensively designed set of the old country home drawing room, The Innocents is sure to send you back in time – and to the edge of your seat.

Tickets are $15 and available by visiting pittsfieldplayers.com or by calling the box office at 435-8852. They will also be available at the door prior to each performance.

What will be the outcome for Giddens and the children? That’s up for you to determine.


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