Mad Horse starts new midweek theater series

Darkness falls early
By MEGAN GRUMBLING  |  October 9, 2008

Mr. Happiness.

This month, Mad Horse Theater Company offers the inaugural installment of a new way to savor theater: in an array of small, piquant morsels, with no waiting until the weekend. It’s the first of the Dark Night Series, a line-up of midweek theatrical tapas in the Studio Theater at Portland Stage Company, featuring both Mad Horse Company members and visiting artists, and directed, variously, by Chris Horton and Brent Askari.

No politically sentient adult should miss Harold Pinter’s terrifying black comedy, One For the Road, featuring David Currier as a sadistic government interrogator, with Craig Bowden, Janice Gardner, and Eliot Nye as the unfortunate family under his inspection. Denis Nye’s live accompaniment underscores the surreal menace.

Another nod to dystopia comes with the world premiere of company member Askari’s Cloudhoppers, the story of two business travelers who connect during a modern airport nightmare. Askari directs Craig Bowden and Lisa Muller-Jones.

In a somewhat different tenor is the David Mamet short Mr. Happiness, about a New Deal-era radio host doling out common-sense, traditionalist advice about love, friendship, and community. Horton directs Peter Brown in the title role.

The series also includes a free, one-night-only staged reading of Alan Bennett’s The History Boys, on October 20, as a companion piece to Mad Horse’s main production, Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour.

The Dark Night Series with Mad Horse Theater Company |Cloudhoppers by Brent Askari, One For the Road by Harold Pinter, and Mr. Happiness by David Mamet. October 13-15 and 21-22 at 7:30 pm |at the Studio Theater of Portland Stage Company, 25A Forest Ave, Portland | $10 suggested donation

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