The Vineyard Playhouse presents Island Interludes: New Work by Island Writers on two Saturdays, May 24 and May 31, at the playhouse on Church Street in downtown Vineyard Haven. This festival of new work is sponsored in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Tomorrow night sees staged readings of two short plays, Crosswords by Jay H. Kaufman and A Midsummer Night’s Alternative by Susanna J. Sturgis. On Saturday May 31, there will be a staged reading of Kim and Delia, a new full-length play by Brian Ditchfield.
Jay H. Kaufman is a practicing ophthalmologist in Newton, Mass., who plans to spend an ever increasing amount of time with his wife, Susie, at their home in Edgartown. Dr. Kaufman is a graduate of the Harvard Medical School, and is a clinical instructor at Harvard. He served with the 101st Airborne Division in Viet Nam in 1970. His first play, Pangloss and Pennypocket, was produced in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1995. He has published a short story, Thuyen, in Vineyard Writing, relating to his experiences in Viet Nam. His latest play, Crosswords, takes place on Memorial Day in Edgartown. An aging academic couple is arguing away the morning as the husband attempts to complete the Sunday Times puzzle. The play deals with the issues of the polarities in American society, and specifically with the war in Iraq.
Susanna J. Sturgis was involved in Island theater for several years, first as a reviewer and later as an occasional stage manager and actor. Then she got a horse, started working on her first novel, and generally disappeared from sight. The novel, The Mud of the Place, is set on Martha’s Vineyard and will be published this fall. A year-round resident since 1985, she supports herself as a freelance editor. In 1995 she was an extra in a Vineyard Playhouse production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Tisbury Amphitheater which inspired her to go off on a tangent of her own with A Midsummer Night’s Alternative. With Puck’s help, she imagines a world where Titania rules and Hermia and Helena, who are clearly devoted to each other, don’t have to do the socially acceptable thing and marry guys.
Brian Ditchfield is an Island playwright who, when not behind his notebook writing, can be found in the playhouse box office or programming the Playhouse Web site. Kim and Delia is the adventurous tale of a young girl and her imaginary friend as they travel to find her mother, but end up finding out what happens to imaginary friends after they have been forgotten.
Island Interludes evenings begin at 7:30 p.m. General admission tickets are available at the door; $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. Each evening will be followed by a short question and answer session with the writers and audience. The theatre is handicapped accessible. For details, call 508-696-6300 or see vineyardplayhouse.org online.