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July 25, 2014
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The play’s the thing!

Contributed by Bob Garrett Janna Commando, Ellen Pavlov and Dorothy Hartz take a bow at the Liberty Free Theatre.


I snapped pics, sampled some of the many treats available and cheered those participating as they made their way through the streets, completing the route with strollers, dogs and children. Jeffersonville’s Jared K. Hart was the first to cross the finish line, and he took his place on the sidelines, cheering his fellow runners as they ran, walked and came out in droves in support of this fantastic event.

Unsuspecting that the theme was about to continue, Dharma and I made our way to Narrowsburg and the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance (DVAA, www.artsalliancesite.org) on Sunday to observe the progression of a work-in-progress, playwright Richard Scheinmel’s “Lost on Staten Island—More Tales of Modern Living.” The play, which is part of a series, deals with family, suicide and (surprise!) cancer, among other subjects. Once again, these serious issues are deftly handled with the talented playwright’s ability to take the audience along on Scheinmel’s personal journey, sharing his experience through the creative process, addressing universal themes that have touched the lives of so many.

The show, which is slated to open in New York City’s La Mama Etc. (www.lamama.org) on June 16, is really well written, and audience members were given the opportunity to ask questions following the actors’ workout.

Curious as to how the company found itself in Narrowsburg, I discovered that the cast includes some locals—Wendy Merritt Kaufman and actor/musician Chris Orbach—and that the company had recruited our own Cass Collins to sit in, reading an assortment of roles, for a few cast mates who were unable to make the trip. Director Jason Jacobs, along with stage manager Heather Olmstead, were there, and they all took time out of their schedules to address the audience afterward.

Responding to my query regarding working on the show here, as opposed to the city, Kaufman enthused about the bucolic atmosphere and the different experience. “Doing what I love to do [acting] on the banks of the Delaware River—well, it’s just great,” she said, as the others nodded in agreement. “We are treating this experience as a retreat,” director Jacobs said, “and we’re hopeful that this will lead to not only enhancing the work, but enriching our experience along the way.”