Triple play at ACT

Once in a blue moon, the folks at Ashland Contemporary Theatre like to do something completely different.

ACT has staged readings at Talent's Paschal Winery & Vineyard in the past, but this weekend the group will present three one-act plays. "Once in a Blue Moon, featuring "Wanda's Visit" by Christopher Durang, will be presented at 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday, June 9, and 3 p.m. Sunday, June 10, at the winery, 1122 Suncrest Road.

Evalyn Hansen, who directs the three plays, says Durang is one of her favorite playwrights.

"He's hilarious, and his characters are well-drawn," she says. "This particular play has wonderful characters and so much humor. We also have fabulous actors who interpret the scripts well. Lyda Woods, who plays Wanda, is outrageous," she adds.

When Wanda, Jim's hot — but shady — ex-high-school sweetheart shows up for an extended visit, the mayhem that ensues rocks his stable marriage in ACT's anchor production of "Wanda's Visit."

Jeannine Grizzard, ACT's artistic director, says the Durang play is "dangerously funny."

While the other two "Blue Moon" plays are by playwrights less well-known than Durang, Grizzard says they are no less entertaining.

"Post-Its," by Paul Dooley and Winnie Holzman, is the story of a longtime marriage viewed through the messages a couple dashes off to one another throughout their lives together.

"It's clever and a little poignant," Grizzard says. "Eric Epstein, who plays the husband in 'Post-Its,' is an actor from Grants Pass."

The third play is "The Tarantino Variation," by Seth Kramer. It is a comedy inspired by filmmaker Quentin Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs."

"We're thrilled with all the productions," Grizzard says. "This is probably the funniest thing we've ever done."

The "Blue Moon" cast includes regional actors Maria Ciamaichelo, Daureen Collodel, Joseph Suste, Jesse Lawson and Christopher Morton, along with Epstein and Woods.

Put the three plays together, with "Wanda's Visit" as the highlight, and "Blue Moon" is sort of a roller-coaster ride. There is the heartfelt humor of "Post-Its," the Tarantino spoof and then "Wanda," all set in Paschal's pastoral setting.

Tickets cost $12 and are available at Paddington Station in Ashland, Grocery Outlet in Medford and or by calling 541-646-2971.

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