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Welcome to Parish Players

Eclipse Grange Theater

Welcome to Parish Players, an incorporated not-for-profit membership theater group based at the Eclipse Grange Theatre in Thetford Hill, Vermont. We are a community theater staffed and run by volunteers. Come join us. We welcome your participation, whether as an audience member, on the stage or behind-the-scenes (or all three!). We have lots to offer.

Eclipse Grange Shorts
An Evening of Short Story Performances:
“Sci-Fi Exploration”

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Kevin Fitzpatrick, Producer and Director email

Shows will be at Parish Players' Eclipse Grange

Two shows left: Friday & Saturday, September 12 & 13, at 7:30 pm

Featured Performers:

  • Barry Wenig
  • Darby Hiebert
  • Michael Duggan
  • Bailey Ray
  • Kevin Fitzpatrick

Featured Stories:

  • Isaac Asimov, "The Immortal Bard"
  • Leslie Stone, "The Invasion of Gola"
  • Fredric Brown, "Knock"
  • Ray Bradbury, "The One Who Waits"
  • Eileen Gunn, "No Place to Raise Kids"

Opening weekend audiences were amused and engaged by our latest episode of Eclipse Grange Shorts: An Evening of Short Story Performances, themed "Sci-Fi Exploration." Patterned after Selected Shorts on NPR, this fourth episode in the series presents readings of works by sci-fi greats Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury, as well as other less famous authors.

Nancy Charkes from West Fairlee, VT, said, "I'm not a sci-fi fan, so I was very skeptical of going in the first place, but I like your productions as a rule, and so I thought, 'Well, we'll go.' We loved it. We thought the stories were well chosen for people who may not be sci-fi fans." She concluded, "I thought it was terrific. The acting was superb. Every one was really wonderful."

"I was intrigued by the science fiction theme of the evening," shared Erik Ferguson of Hartford, VT. "It was a very interesting mix of writers, very cool. My favorite was the Ray Bradbury story."

Thetford's Robert McConnaughey said, "This is at least the third episode we've attended, and it's a particularly interesting, somewhat unusual format, and it's been done extremely well. I think that the reading format is an excellent way to get a flavor, and the readers have always been awfully good." Regarding this particular show, he said it's "... fun and interesting. I'd tell people not to miss it."

“Sci-Fi Explorations” commences with a brief and hilarious story by the incomparable Isaac Asimov entitled “The Immortal Bard.”  This story – fittingly enough for a dramatic arts organization – features William Shakespeare as the title character in a tale of twisted time-travel.  Who WAS Shakespeare and could he cope in the modern world?  It is performed by Lebanon, NH resident, Barry Wenig. 

The first act concludes with a story from the heyday of long-form, serialized sci-fi, “The Invasion of Gola,” written in 1931, which is also notable for being written by a woman, Leslie F. Stone, which was rare for that era.  It represents the genre of planetary invasion, with a twist.  In a reverse “War of the Worlds,” Earthmen – or Detaxalans, as they are called – are the aggressors, invading Venus, which its inhabitants call Gola.  It is entirely ruled by women, and its people are vastly superior to Terrans.  As with much sci-fi literature, creating an alien world can take a goodly number of words.  This story is the longest of the program and is brilliantly rendered by Darby Hiebert of Hartland, VT.

The second act blasts off with a story by a luminary of mid-twentieth century sci-fi, Fredric Brown.  His story, “Knock,” is in the genre of total human annihilation, but it is told with great humor and fascinating plot turns.  In a departure from how Mr. Fitzpatrick has directed past stories, he has two actors presenting this story.  Michael Duggan, of Norwich, VT, reads the main character, the last man on earth – who also represents the story’s point-of-view – and Bailey Ray, of Lebanon, NH, will portray the primary alien, “George,” as well as last woman on earth. 

In a story of alien human possession, “The One Who Waits,” written by sci-fi master Ray Bradbury, follows.  On its voyage of initial discovery to Mars, the human crew finds an entity waiting, for thousands of years.  As this entity possesses its human hosts, devastation follows.  With a nod to “The Twilight Zone,” Mr. Wenig presents this fascinating story. 

In a very brief story by Eileen Gunn entitled “No Place To Raise Kids,” Mr. Fitzpatrick performs the conclusion of the evening with an outrageous riff on one of the staples of modern sci-fi passion, the world of Star Trek.  This story features an absurd Kirk/Spock “slash” plot with continually shifting points-of-view.  Will true-blue Trekkers be amused or outraged?  Or both?

Adult admission is $15; seniors are $12; and students are $10. For ticket reservations, call 802-785-4344.

Long Day's Journey into Night
An American Classic
by Eugene O'Neill

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Ray Chapin, Director 802-785-4321 email
Kevin Fitzpatrick, Producer email

Shows will be at Parish Players' Eclipse Grange

Show Dates: Friday and Saturday - 7:00pm, October 10,11, 17,18, 24,25
Sunday Matinees - 2:30pm, October 19, 26

Characters:
James Tyrone, Sr.: Mike Backman
Mary Cavan Tyrone: Kay Morton
James "Jamie" Tyrone, Jr.: Chris Rosenquest
Edmund Tyrone: Sam Chapin
Cathleen: Melissa Noonan

Eugene O'Neill is one of America's greatest playwrights, and Long Day's Journey into Night, a semi-autobiographical representation of his own tortured family, is considered by many to be the greatest American play. A haunting story of family, addiction and despair, Long Day's Journey into Night explores how bitterness and unspoken truths can pull a family apart. But the play also concerns love, and the possibility of redemption. As the long day wears on, family members confront the demons that plague them individually, and they make a final effort to save the family. This production will be staged in the round, creating a heightened sense of intimacy.

Under Milk Wood
by Dylan Thomas

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Sophie Wood, Director

Patrick Freund, Producer, (call 802-785-4291)

Auditions and shows will be at Parish Players' Eclipse Grange

Show Dates: Friday & Saturday, November 28 & 29 and Thursday, Friday & Saturday, December 4, 5 & 6, (evening)
Sunday Matinées, November 30 and December 7

Under Milk Wood is poet/playwright Dylan Thomas' most famous and popular work. "A moving and hilarious account of a spring day in a small Welsh town", the play begins with dreams and ghosts before dawn and closes "as the rain of dusk brings on the bawdy night". The play is lyrical, impassioned and funny; "an Our Town given universality".

For more information please call producer Patrick Freund at 802-785-4291

Windows and Drainage

Parish Players is extremely blessed to own its theater - the historic Eclipse Grange. Between 1998 and 2002, a major renovation made many improvements to the building. Since then, we have continued to maintain and improve our theater. We have replaced old, leaky windows with energy efficient ones in the green room and dressing room. We hope to do the same in the library and costume loft. Last summer we scraped and painted the front.

This summer, thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation, we have remedied the drainage problem which caused water to collect in the cellar. We will next solve the ice build-up on the porch roof which causes leaking into the foyer. Many thanks go to the Byrne Foundation for their generous contribution and to the many members who have labored and will, hopefully, continue to give loving care to our theater.

Painting - Mission Accomplished

Thanks to the hard work of several Parish Players and a few friends, the front of the Grange is looking mighty fine. A big thanks to the following painters:

  • Sally Duston
  • Janet Eller
  • Philip Eller
  • Pat Freund
  • Li Haishan
  • Jasmine Li
  • Lizzy Marks
  • Neal Meglathery
  • Will Meglathery
  • Kay Morton
  • Duncan Nichols
  • Barbara Payson
  • Jim Schley
  • Dean Whitlock

New Bulletin Board

Shelby Grantham and Janet Eller worked on replacing the bulletin board on the porch with a new cork one sporting a green frame to match the newly painted front doors.

Restored Sandwich Board

If that weren't enough, Barbara Payson has restored the sandwich board to make it weatherproof and it looks great. THANKS TO EVERYONE!



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