Tuesday, June 15, 2010

French By Way of Tom Stoppard in Fish Creek

Peninsula Players Opens its 75th Season With Wisconsin Premiere

By Russ Bickerstaff
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The Peninsula Players--the oldest professional resident summer theatre in the country opens its 75th season with the Wisconsin premiere of a French comedy. Heroes is Tom Stoppard’s translation of a play by Gerald Sibleyras. The direct translation of the title for that play was “Wind In The Poplars.” The play is set in 1959 in a home for retired military men. The three central characters here were French veterans of World War II.

The play has been compared to Waiting For Godot. The three men sit outside the home talking much and doing little. Stoppard’s unique sense of wit and dialogue have been praised in the translation. The idyllic mood in a rest home for retired military men should fit the venue here perfectly. The Peninsula Players’ space has a breezy, outdoor feel to it just far enough from the bustling tourist economy to make for a very peaceful atmosphere of a terrace that three old soldiers hang about on . . . memories of the front line long behind them.

Chicago Shakespeare veteran Greg Vinkler plays Gustave—the most recent addition to the trio who quickly takes charge—determined to defend the terrace from intruders. Peninsula Players veteran Tim Monsion plays the neurologically challenged Phillipe—a man still carrying a bit of the war quite literally in his brain. There’s a piece of shrapnel lodged in his skull that causes frequent blackouts and hallucinations. Tom Mula plays Henri—a gentleman slightly more rational than the other two who suffers from a bad leg.

The Peninsula Players’ production of Heroes runs June 15th through July 4th in Fish Creek, Wisconsin.  

 

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