Imagine the Island of Misfit Toys relocated to an old farmhouse in rural Missouri. The difference is that in Lanford Wilson’s Tony-nominated play Fifth of July, opening June 6th at Hole in the Wall Theater in New Britain, the square-wheeled trucks and broken dolls are human.
The first in a trilogy of plays that Wilson wrote about the Talley family of Lebanon, Missouri, Fifth of July centers around Ken Talley, a disabled Vietnam veteran whose attempt to return to a normal life comes crashing down, to the dismay of his lover Jed, his sister June, and his Aunt Sally, who has returned to the family homestead to scatter her late husband’s ashes.
Throw in June’s overly-dramatic teenage daughter Shirley, copper heiress and aspiring rock star Gwen Landis and her husband/manager John, and Weston Hurley, an “on the edge of being burnt out” guitar player and composer, and the 24-hour period they spend together becomes a hilarious, yet poignant portrait of the rock-and-roll generation at the precise moment they realize the fireworks have ended.
Fifth of July debuted in New York City at the Circle Repertory Theatre in 1978 and moved to Broadway in 1980. Critics hailed the play as “a major work by one of the theater’s most important and celebrated writers…alternately funny and moving.” The Hole in the Wall production is directed by Kelly DiMauro of Middletown and features a combination of HITW veterans and newcomers: Matthew Skwiot as Ken, Sean Sterling-Granado as Jed, Elizabeth Hill Bohmier as June, Barbara Gallow as Aunt Sally, Sally Arlette-Garcia and Tom Pepper as Gwen and John Landis, Alexander Levine as Wes, and 14-year-old Tess Pepper as Shirley.
The show runs Fridays and Saturdays, at 8:00 pm, June 6th through June 28th, with 2:00 pm matinees on Sunday, June 15th and Sunday, June 22nd. Tickets are $20 for general admission, $15 for students and seniors. Friday, June 13th, is pay-what-you-can night. Tickets can be ordered on-line at www.hitw.org or by calling the Box Office at 860-229-3049.
Hole in the Wall Theater is located at 116 Main Street, New Britain. Free parking is available in the garage on Chestnut Street.
by, Barbara Gallow Liskow