White Heron Theatre and Long Wharf Theatre collaborate on a reading of Samuel Hunter's new play on Nantucket.
Nantucket Arts

New Samuel Hunter Play at White Heron Two Nights Only: Tonight & Tomorrow

It is very rare that a group of working actors like the cast of the

take time away from their very complicated schedules to come together to work on a new play. But this is a very special play.

Samuel Hunter, the playwright, is only 34 years old and his plays are causing quite a stir in the theatre community. His play A Bright New Boise won the 2011 Obie Award for playwriting and in 2013 his play The Whale, won both the 2013 Drama Desk Award and Lortel Award for Outstanding Play. And in 2014, he received the MacArthur Genius Grant for playwriting, an honor coveted by writers around the world .

His newest (and much anticipated) play, THE HARVEST, will premier here on Nantucket on JULY 1 & 2, 2015 as part of the White Heron Theatre Company’s collaboration with the Long Wharf Theatre – A New Plays Collaborative. Sam is on Nantucket to write and work on his new play with this group of actor/collaborators under the direction of Gordon Edelstein. At the end of the weeklong process, he will hear his work read by this stellar cast and take questions from the audience about the play and his process.

The actors and the playwright are living, rehearsing and writing in a house out near Surfside beach. They have meals together, share bathrooms and common rooms while they rehearse Sam’s new play guided by director Gordon Edelstein. Thirty pages of new text were generated after yesterday’s rehearsal together in the house. Each day they work through the play, and each night Sam rewrites with new pages ready for the rehearsal the next morning. It is total immersion, with actors, director and playwright, living and working together to create a new work of art .

The cast is comprised mostly of actors in their twenties. Between them, the actors involved in the new play project boast credits from Orange is the New Black, The Sopranos, Mildred Pierce, The Good wife, the Black list, The Office not to mention many, many Broadway credits. Micah Stock, was just nominated for his role for his Broadway debut in the Jack O’Brien-directed hit revival of Terrence McNally’s It’s Only A Play starring opposite Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, F. Murray Abraham, Stockard Channing, Rupert Grint, and Megan Mullally.

But like all artists, the collaborative process is very interesting to these actors. The excitement of working on something brand new and having a voice in the work is unique.

Samuel Hunter, the playwright, was born and raised in Moscow, Idaho, a town nine hours north of Boise in the panhandle of Idaho. His plays are set in Idaho and apart from their Idaho setting, the plays have some things in common — most notably the intricately drawn characters who take their place in the world with compassion and some soul-searching.

This new play, The Harvest, is set in the basement of a small church in Southeastern Idaho, a group of young missionaries is preparing to go to the Middle East, and one of them — a young man who has recently lost his father — has bought a one-way ticket. But his plans are complicated when his estranged sister shows up in town and makes it her mission to keep him home.

White Heron will be performing at the Dreamland Theatre this summer while their new theatre is being built on their property at 5 N Water Street. The Harvest will debut Wednesday and Thursday night, July 1 and 2 in the Studio Theatre at the Dreamland at 8 p.m. with a talkback with the playwright and meet and greet with the cast after the show. Tickets are available at online at www.whiteherontheatre.org, www.dreamland

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