“How the Other Half Loves” is a laugh-out-loud farce about infidelity set in 1971.
PICT moves from musical to comedy. Two living rooms share the same space in PICT’s first 2015 Mainstage production.
Pittsburgh, PA, May 6, 2015 – A little infidelity goes a long way in PICT Classic Theatre’s How the Other Half Loves by Alan Ayckbourn, running from May 28 through June 13 upstairs in the Stephen Foster Memorial in Oakland. PICT moves from the ‘60s with a sold out Jacques Brel to a ‘70s period piece. As the first production in PICT’s Mainstage Series, the play was selected because it has all the elements of a classic farce, and, similar to Ayckbourn’s House and Garden which PICT performed in two simultaneous theatres in 2011, the set and production concept are bound to have audiences talking.
The premise of the play is simple. There are three couples— The Fosters, The Phillips and The Detweilers— and someone is having an affair. It is made more interesting, though, when Ayckbourn presents this situation all at once on stage, despite the fact that the action is taking place in two different spaces on two different nights.
PICT’s 2015 Featured Artists, Actor/Director Martin Giles and Scenic Designer Johnmichael Bohach, are working together to convey this interesting concept. “Someone can be sitting on a sofa in the Fosters’ on Thursday and someone else can be on a chair at the Phillips’ on Friday, but both are occupying the same space,” explains Director Martin Giles. “We can have a lot of fun staging it because we can have two people right next to each other, who aren’t in the same room.”
It sounds confusing, but Ayckbourn’s unique concept has been delighting audiences since it premiered on Broadway in 1971, the same year that Giles has selected for the setting of the play. According to Giles, “When I saw that the play premiered in 1971, I realized that that was my freshman year of high school. I thought, ‘I know what this looks like, I know what this feels like. It is going to be fun’.”
Giles believes that anyone in the audience who is familiar with the ‘70s will appreciate his vision for the play. “The actors’ hair will be slightly too long, and they will all have stupid mustaches. We are also picking music from 1971, which was an especially choice year for pop songs. It is going to feel like a period piece, one that people in the audience will recognize.”
Opening only two weeks after the run of PICT’s Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, which required an extended run due to popular demand, PICT believes that this production will be every bit as fun and entertaining as the smash-hit that just closed. In fact, How the Other Half Loves was selected specifically to kick off PICT’s Mainstage Series because of its classic style and its mass appeal.
“It is a classic example of the theatrical form of farce. Everything about a farce follows a particular formula, and the structure demonstrates that it is our tendency as a species to laugh at the misfortunes of others,” muses PICT’s Artistic & Executive Director, Alan Stanford. “In fact, one might truly say that farce is a tragedy happening to someone else— whereas tragedy is a farce happening to you. We are happy to invite everyone to join us back in Oakland with something bright and amusing that is fit for all the family.”
And according to Martin Giles, despite the fact that they entire play is based on a secret affair, this truly is a play for people of all ages. “You can expect a lot of people running all over the stage, dinner being thrown around, people leaving things on chairs and someone from another scene sitting on them, and a ridiculous number of misplaced shoe gags. Really, it is just a comedy of misunderstanding and miscommunication, and also a very strong comedy of characters that anyone will recognize.”
ABOUT HOW THE OTHER HALF LOVES:
Six PICT veterans return to play confused couples in Ayckbourn’s farce.
“The cast is a truly sterling group,” says Director Martin Giles. “They will be playing a cast of characters who are all really likeable idiots.” PICT is delighted to welcome back six veterans to the stage that have abilities to make these outrageous characters endearing.
Daina Michelle Griffith, who recently appeared in the popular Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, is returning to PICT for her fifth season and her fourth production under the direction of Martin Giles. Other PICT credits include Ruth Condomine in Blithe Spirit, Greta in James Joyce’s The Dead, Octavia in Anthony and Cleopatra and Martin Giles’ world premiere Beautiful Dreamers. Honored as Performer of the Year in 2013 by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Daina has performed widely in Pittsburgh and many other cities, including Pittsburgh Public Theater, Quantum Theatre, City Theatre, The REP, Pittsburgh CLO, Kansas City Starlight, Human Race Theater, Gateway Playhouse, NYC International Fringe and more. She is also known for her acting in films such as The Dark Knight Rises (2012) and Hollidaysburg (2014).
Playing her husband is Philip Winters, who is also in his fifth season at PICT. Previous PICT credits include Old Mahon in Playboy of the Western World, Mr. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Daldry in In the Next Room and Christy in Lieutenant of Inishmore. Mr. Winters is an Associate Professor in the Conservatory of Performing Arts of Point Park University.
PICT is happy to welcome back Tony Bingham, who returns to PICT to play Mr. Phillips after his long run in Pittsburgh CLO’s Boeing Boeing. Past PICT credits include Nat McIlwaine in Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, Herring in The Mask of Moriarty and Careless in The School for Scandal. Tony has also performed in Pittsburgh at The Rep, Pittsburgh Public Theater and Off the Wall Theatre
Playing Mrs. Phillips is Gayle Pazerski, who audiences will remember as Lady Macbeth in PICT’s 2014 record-breaking production of Macbeth. Other PICT credits include Don Juan Comes Back From the War and Sherlock Holmes & the Crucifer of Blood. Gayle has a BFA in Theatre from the University of Kentucky and studied in the graduate acting program at Rutgers University under William Esper. She has performed regionally in New York, Ohio, and West Virginia, and locally with Quantum Theatre, Bricolage, No Name Players, Caravan Theatre, Dog & Pony Show Theatricals and Arcade Comedy Theater.
The “spectacularly nerdy” Mr. and Mrs. Detweiler will be played by Karen Baum and James FitzGerald. Audiences will remember both of them as PICT’s 2014 Featured Artists.
Karen Baum will be returning after her portrayal of the plantation owner’s wife in For the Tree to Drop. Other memorable PICT performances include the contrasting roles of Mrs. Joe and Biddy in Great Expectations, Hecate in Macbeth, Edith in Blithe Spirit, Scarecrow in Woman and Scarecrow, Cordelia in King Lear, the maid in Boston Marriage, and multiple roles in PICT’s 2013 production of Don Juan Comes Back from the War.
For PICT, James FitzGerald most recently played Wemmick in Great Expectations, Ross in Macbeth, Him in Woman and Scarecrow, Vladimir in Waiting for Godot and Dr. Bradman in Blithe Spirit. Other Pittsburgh appearances include All the Names, End of the Affair and Mouth-to-Mouth at Quantum Theater, Charles Ives, Take Me Home at City Theatre and Our Town, Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1776, The Royal Family and Born Yesterday at Pittsburgh Public Theater. James has performed sixteen seasons with Chicago Shakespeare Theater in addition to many other Chicago and off-Broadway credits, most notably Rose Rage directed by Edward Hall. He is also the recipient of two Joseph Jefferson Awards (Best Supporting Actor), a Jeff Citation (Best Actor), and an OE Award Nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
The artistic team consists of scenic designer Johnmichael Bohach, sound designer Angela Baughman, lighting designer Keith Truax, costume designer Lindsay Tejan and props by James Thome.
How the Other Half Loves
By Alan Ayckbourn
Directed by Martin Giles
The Charity Randall Theatre inside the Stephen Foster Memorial
4301 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
May 28 – June 13
- Opening Night reception following the May 30 performance at 8 p.m. at The Porch. (Free to ticketholders for the May 30 performance.)
- Post-Show Talkback: Discussion and Q&A will follow May 31 performance.
- Early Tuesday Happy Hour with free appetizers at Lucca Ristorante prior to the June 2 performance. (Free to ticketholders for May 5 performance)
- Pre-Show lecture from 7:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. before the June 3 performance. (Free and open to the public.)
- What’s the BIG DEAL… about How the Other Half Loves? A special package combining dinner, show-enhancing conversation and your seat at the performance on Thursday, June 11. Dinner at 6 p.m., performance at 8 p.m.
- American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation available Saturday, June 13, 2015 – 2 p.m. matinee. (Ticket for performance required.)
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PICT Classic Theatre is committed to the creation of high-quality, professional thought-provoking theatre of substance. As a theatre company, PICT promotes the community and region with education outreach, and also by consistently employing world-class talent who choose to call Pittsburgh their home. From the timeless truths that explore the depths of human nature, to the sharpest Irish wit— long after the curtain falls, PICT Classic Theatre seeks to remind audiences of the first moment they ever felt the power of a great performance.