News Column

Arts: a Night of Risks and Absurdist Comedy

August 1, 2013


Aug. 01--The Fredericksburg Theatre Ensemble's night of absurdist comedy promises a departure from typical community productions.

Anna Penniman, artistic director for the ensemble, said their production's three plays, Edward Albee's "The Zoo Story" with Craig Pospisil's "Infant Morality" and "American Dream Revisited," fit into their mission "to revel in the art of the uncomfortable."

"Our theater company does something different," she said. "Our shows take risks. And they show just how intelligent and creative the people of Fredericksburg are."

The Fredericksburg Theatre Ensemble's night of absurdist comedy begins Friday at Central Rappahannock Regional Library and runs through Friday, Aug. 9, with a special bonus performance at Horseshoes and Hand Grenades.

Penniman described the plays as "way over the top."

Albee's "The Zoo Story" centers on two men on a park bench as one of them imparts a ridiculous story.

Pospisil's plays involve families in extreme situations. "American Dream Revisited" follows a family as they try to murder their grandmother for her money, and "Infant Morality" is the story of a couple who attempt to return their baby to a hospital.

The performances begin with "Infant Morality," followed by a presentation about absurdist theater.

Penniman said a member of the ensemble will educate the audience about absurdist theater, describe its characteristics and explain which playwrights are absurdist and what absurdist theater hopes to accomplish.

"American Dream Revisited" follows the presentation with "Zoo Story" performed last after an intermission and raffle drawing.

This production will also debut the Fredericksburg Theatre Ensemble's young director program. Each season, the group plans on giving aspiring directors between 16 and 20 years old an opportunity to expand their theater skill set.

Their first young director, Rebecca Law, is behind both Pospisil plays.

The 17-year-old has been performing with Riverside Dinner Theater for more than four years and is a native of Fredericksburg.

"She brings a youthful spirit to the stage," Penniman said. "I think her shows promise to be very fun and energetic."

Penniman said all three works offer a unique set of viewpoints, especially when performed one after the other.

"People go to theater for different reasons," she said. "Part of the fun is seeing how a play speaks to you you personally. Like Albee's play, it's about someone who is lonely and doesn't get a voice. That story isn't usually told. It can show people that they are not alone."


What: Fredericksburg Theatre Ensemble

When: Central Rappahannock Regional Library, 8 10 p.m. Friday Saturday, 2 4 p.m. Sunday; Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, 1009 Princess Anne St., 8 10 p.m. Aug. 9

Cost: $10, available online or at the door

Info: fredericksburgtheatre. org

Lindley Estes: 540/735-1976 --


(c)2013 The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, Va.)

Visit The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, Va.) at

Distributed by MCT Information Services

A service of YellowBrix, Inc.

For more stories covering arts and entertainment, please see HispanicBusiness' Arts & Entertainment Channel

Story Tools Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters