Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011

Suspense and Stamp Collecting

Chamber Theatre brings MAURITIUS to Milwaukee

By Russ Bickerstaff
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Everyone’s got a story something like this: When I was in 6th grade, I once sold a comic book for $200. I’d only paid $1 for it. This is, of course, totally absurd. Not nearly as absurd as spending all of that money on more comic books. Such is the foolishness of youth and the insanity of semi-professional collecting. It’s this type of insanity that is explored in a great deal of entertaining detail in Theresa Rebeck’s contemporary thriller Mauritius, which opens on February 17th in a Milwaukee Chamber Theatre production. The drama, which debuted in New York a few years ago, tells the story of two half-sisters looking to sell-off their grandfather’s stamp collection.

The title of the drama refers to a tiny island nation off the coast of Africa. It was this nation which issued some of the world’s first postage stamps in 1847. A rare envelope containing two such stamps was sold for almost $4 million in 1993. When such tiny things  become attached to such large sums of money, there is invariably going to be some serious drama involved. It is this drama the Rebeck has captured with Mauritius—the drama Milwaukee Chamber Theatre looks to bring to the stage of the Broadway Theatre Center’s intimate Studio Theatre this month.

Directed by Milwaukee native Andrew Volkoff. Something of a dream local cast for the production includes Drew Brhel, Jonathan Wainwright and Milwaukee Chamber Artistic Director C. Michael Wright as three men who take an interest in the collection. Betsy Skowbow and Sara Zientek play the two half-sisters. The drama of tiny, old pieces of paper in a cozy studio theatre sounds like a really promising way to heat-up some of the last days of winter.

Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s Mauritius runs February 17th through March 13th at the Broadway Theatre Center’s Studio Theatre. For resrervations, call the box office at 414-291-7800.

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