“The Hostage” Showing at Church Hill Theatre

The final production of Church Hill Theatre’s 2018 season is the mid-20th century classic, Brendan Behan’s “The Hostage,” directed by Pat Patterson. Brendan uses the Irish music hall tradition to incorporate song and dance throughout the performance, mixing sometimes-broad humor with a profoundly humanistic message.

The cast of “The Hostage” rehearses for Church Hill Theatre’s last production of the season.

Set in a Dublin rooming house (and part-time brothel), the socially marginal characters confront society’s rigid expectations, finding their own ways to patriotism, friendship, treachery, and even love in the political nightmare of the “Irish Problem.” Pat first encountered “The Hostage” while serving as an Air Force Officer in Italy, where military audiences responded positively to the play’s questions about power and responsibility. He hopes Delmarva theatergoers will find “The Hostage” as relevant today as it was in 1958, the year of its first production in Dublin.

“The Hostage” will open on Friday, November 2 and run through November 18, with performances on Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons. Reservations can be made by calling 410-556-6003 or churchhilltheatre.org.

The characters in “The Hostage” are the residents of a run-down rooming house, IRA militants, and the unfortunate hostage, a British soldier captured to be exchanged for a condemned Irish terrorist. Christopher Wallace plays Pat, the landlord; Christine Kinlock plays his consort, Meg; and Herb Ziegler plays Monsewer, the Anglo-Irish owner of the house. Max Hagan portrays the hostage, Leslie Williams. Residents include two prostitutes (one mostly retired) played by Natalie Lane and Michelle Christopher, a seedy civil servant and an improbable social worker, played by Howard Mesick and Hester Sachse; and a couple of promiscuous men of fluid gender, played by Michael Moore and Kellen Paddy. Maya McGrory plays Teresa, the young and innocent housemaid. An extremist IRA officer is played by Paul Briggs, assisted by an eager volunteer played by Eamon Murphy. Troy Strootman is a Russian sailor, perhaps the only one in the house with money in his pocket.

Julie Lawrence is the show’s music director and also an onstage presence throughout the play, providing piano accompaniment. Pat’s production team includes Producer Sylvia Maloney, Choreographer Cavin Moore, and Stage Manager Sheila Austrian. Michael Whitehill designed the set, Douglas Kaufmann does the light design, and Juanita Wieczoreck finds appropriate late 1950s costumes. Randy Welch is the bagpipe consultant, recording music especially for the show and providing a full piper’s kit for Monsewer.

 

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