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WHO WE ARE and What the Press (and others) think of us:                                                                                 
Carey Harrison: Co-founder and Artistic Director, pictured top right, is a British-born member of a theatrical family, the most notable of whom is his father, the late Sir Rex Harrison. Carey Harrison's first lessons in theatre came as a small boy when he helped his actor parents learn their lines for their upcoming productions. He attended Cambridge University where he was active in college productions; his contemporaries included members of what would become the Monty Python team and The Goodies but, although a gifted actor himself, he preferred to write and direct. He has written award-winning drama for the stage, radio and television including pieces for Masterpiece Theatre - Mr Harrison's awards include a Sony, a Giles Cooper, society of authors, and numerous awards from the British Arts Council.  He is also a published novelist and a professor of English Literature at Brooklyn College. Scroll down for his story on how the Woodstock Players Theater Company came into existence and check out his page Carey on Theater for more about his life in the field. Following is a video interview on how Mr. Harrison came to write the play Midget in a Catsuit Reciting Spinoza. See our Gallery page for a slide-shows from Midget... and our Archive page for details, including synopsis, of this and other productions. To contact us, click HERE.

  

Claire Lambe: Co-founder, Company Manager and Designer, top left, is from Ireland, her background is in fine art - she is a B.F.A. alumnus of the National College of Art & Design (NCAD) in Dublin, Ireland and holds an M.F.A. in painting from the City University of New York. In addition to her role with The Players, she is an multi-disciplinary artist and portraitist who has exhibited on both sides of the Atlantic. In 2012 Ms. Lambe's artwork was included in the Hudson Valley Artists 2012 "Dear Mother Nature" exhibition at the the Dorsky Museum at SUNY New Paltz. Currently her work is part of the Black & White exhibition at the Woodstock School of ARt. For Claire Lambe's art journal, go HERE. 

Athena Baer: Stage Manager, joined the company for Endgame in 2012; she was stage manager and properties mistress for the Irish Repertory Theater where she worked on such gems as Philadelphia Here I Come by Brien Friel, Whistle In The Dark by Tom Murphy, and Playboy of the Western World by John Millington Synge. She also worked with Marshall Mason, Pearl Theater and other independent companies in Manhattan, and also in Athens, Greece.

Chiara Harrison Lambe: Stage Manager
and Phaedra Fowler: Assistant Stage Manager have been both been involved with The Woodstock Players since 2010 and 2011 respectively - Chiara started as assistant to Ms Lambe for MAGUS - both she and Phaedra worked as ASMs on Midget In a Catsuit Reciting Spinoza, and they co-stage managed Hedgerow Specimen. Chiara also works at the Fischer Center at Bard where she is a student.

Edwina Wood:
Company President, and Tom Unrath: Treasurer are long-time supporters of the arts in Woodstock and active members of the historic Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild; Tom has a background in the  law.

Guest directors have included Andrea Cunliffe and Tracy Carney. We are indebted to to the excellent lighting design of Zack Jacobs at Byrdcliffe and More recently to the brilliance of Penny Weber for her contribution to the lighting of Hedgerow Specimen and also thank Jake Brown for stepping in for Penny when we needed him - also to our army of volunteers, including Assistant state managers. We are grateful to the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck which has been a constant and generous support with costumes and props. For more info on our collaborators see our Guestbook page, click Here

To Contact us, click HERE. To return to the to the top of this page, click TOP


HOW WE CAME TO BE
by Carey Harrison

My wife Claire Lambe and I formed the Woodstock Players in the spring of 2010, initially to stage Magus, a play of mine intended for another company, they found themselves unable to stage it, that summer. With Claire taking on the roles of company manager and designer, we recruited actors and stage management and went ahead, in a small theater of celestial charms, the Byrdcliffe Theater in Woodstock, NY. Raised in Britain, I had been writing plays since boarding school. Dante Kaputt was my first play to be staged professionally, at the Leicester Phoenix Theatre (in the UK) in 1966, when I was 22, and it led to the National Theatre taking an option on my future work. In the ensuing years my plays were widely performed in the UK, until my writing time was increasingly fed into scriptwriting and subsequently into novels.

In 2009 I was asked to write a play for the Jewish Theater Festival in New York City. Scenes From a Misunderstanding, a comedy about Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, was the result, and when it was well received and brought from Manhattan to Woodstock's Byrdcliffe Theater in the summer of 2009, alongside a newly composed companion piece, Bad Boy, I felt inspired to write more for theatre. Magus, our inaugural production in 2010, was followed by a Robert Kelly play, Oedipus After Colonus, co-produced by The Woodstock Players with Dangerous Ground, a Manhattan company. Magus was revived in the winter of 2011 at the Center for Perfoming Arts in Rhinebeck. Emboldened by the enthusiastic reception of both of our endeavors and the reprise of Magus, we decided to keep going and in June 2011 produced another play of mine: Midget In A Catsuit Reciting Spinoza again at the Byrdcliffe Theatre.

My 2011 play for the company, Midget In a Catsuit Reciting Spinoza, was inspired by Henry Akona, the director of Scenes From A Misunderstanding and Bad Boy; on receiving Bad Boy Henry wrote to me expressing doubt that he could direct it. It was, he said, a love story: not his forte. If instead I had written him a play featuring, he wrote, a midget in a catsuit reciting Spinoza, he would have known exactly how to tackle it. I wrote him precisely that play, which he greeted with enthusiasm; the opportunity to premiere it, however, fell to the Woodstock Players. It is a wonderful and unusual thing for a playwright to produce and direct his/her own work and realize the piece as envisioned during writing. Being able to work closely with my wife and partner who is not only gifted as a costume,
props, and set designer but has a terrific and natural sense of the theatrical, has meant we have a level of control over the entire process that is unheard of for most playwrights. And it is wonderful for actors to have the opportunity to originate a role - a rare thing for most actors especially outside of the metropolis'.

In 2012, in addition to my play, Hedgerow Specimen, produced in June, we also did a production of David Mamet's American Buffalo, directed by Tracy Carney, at the Rhinebeck Center for Performing Arts, and at Woodstock's Kleinert/James Arts Center and, in the fall,  Samuel Beckett's Endgame, directed by Andrea Cunliffe with myself as the blind despot Hamm, and Mik Horowitz, who played Spinoza in Midget In A Catsuit Reciting Spinoza, playing Hamm's servant, Clov. Claire Lambe was, as ever, our costume and set designer. All three were hits with Hedgerow Specimen receiving the Woodstock Players' most enthusiastic reception yet, but the pressure of doing three demanding productions in one year, in addition to our other commitments, made us go back to the board-room, aka the kitchen table, and agree that we have to keep to our original mission to do just one production per year. This vow was immediately broken in June 2013 when we did three plays - one, Hitler's Therapist, a staged reading followed by two full productions that ran in repertoire: I Won't Bite You and Rex & Rex - I directed the former and Claire directed the latter in which I also acted. Again we were thrilled with and encouraged by the reception from our audience. We plan to stage more new work, by myself and others, in the years to come, and help to return both Byrdcliffe Theater and Woodstock to its past theatrical pre-eminence. We are already planning for 2014, just one production for real this time, albeit one with a cast of twenty-four... For more information about the most recent plays, please visit Up Next on this website and for the rest, visit our Gallery and Archive pages, the latter contains brief synopses of the plays. And if you can come and see our company perform, I can promise you won't be disappointed.  In addition to the 36 stage plays I've written since Dante Kaputt in 1966, I have directed at theaters on both sides of the Atlantic, including the National Theatre, or the Royal National Theatre as it is now, of Great Britain, but I have yet to find a more inspiring space than the Byrdcliffe Theater, or actors more gifted and committed than those of The Woodstock Players. Together we hope to do great things, regardless of scale. In theater, great things are born of passion and imagination, and we can offer both. - Carey

If you would like to read more about Carey Harrison, we have recently added a new page "Carey on Theater" which you may enjoy - and on that page you will also find the link to his writer's website and more good stuff.

And visit our Facebook page and "Like" us, do:)

REVIEWS

"Fabulous new Carey Harrison play...wowed audiences at Byrdcliffe"
For Hedgerow Specimen from Paul Smart in The Woodstock Times, Almanac Weekly.

"I found myself continuing to think about the play long after I left the theater. The 4 actors were excellent... The staging was brilliant."
For Hedgerow Specimen by Cornelia Seckel of Art Times.

"Wonderful staging, great performances, top notch writing...we had a stellar evening of theatre in the woods...Bravo!" 
For Hedgerow Specimen by David Adler, Screenwriter/jounalist, San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Diego Reader.

"I was totally unprepared for the depth of Carey Harrison's play and the level of Violet Snow's performance as she chases down the murderess, played to great emotional heights by Holly Graph. The end is more than a murder mystery, it delves into solving some deep mystery of life as well. ...amazing minimalist set and costume design" - For Hedgerow Specimen by Susan Manuso in a letter to The Woodstock Times, June 2012


"Midget in a Catsuit... [Reciting Spinoza] is brilliantly written and played. It was one of the best nights of theater I've had in many years. Kudo's to all!"  Tom Grasso of Roll Magazine 

"I have not seen an audience participate with theater like that since I was a child visiting London," For Magus on the blog, The Book Of Ideas.

"Experiencing Magus at the Byrdcliffe Theater in Woodstock raised the curtain on an extraordinary fact: that theater of the first order is happening right here in the Hudson Valley. At the top of the list of what is far beyond the ordinary is the genius of Carey Harrison—author, director, lead actor." For Magus by George Quasha: artist, poet, theater theoretician & author of  Inside A Theater Of More.

"an unusual and ambitious project... Well done! " For Magus by K.A. Laity on the blog Wombat's World.

"Carey Harrison's script is more than just a high concept comedy ... Henry Akona's staging is light, deft, and appropriate, and the performances of Mick O'Brien as Jung, Eric Oleson as Freud, and Kris Lundberg as both of their maids are delightful.”
For Scenes From A Misunderstanding:
  nytheater.com 


Trey Kay as Cervantes, Peter Rae as Kafka in Magus +
  (mouse-over image) Wiley Gorn as Shakespeare with Trey

For further comments including from patrons, see our Guestbook or our Up Next page - on the Up Next page, just scroll down for feedback we have received on our most recent productions

Our Sponsors - with great appreciation:

Lady Mercia Harrison of New York City and Geneva

  and Pierre Schwob.

Candlestock of Woodstock: www.candlestock.com for generously providing us with excellent set properties.

And the many individuals and local businesses that have supported our endeavors by advertizing in our program.

If you would like to make a donation and/or become a sponsor, please contact us.

To contact us, go  HERE

If you need to get in touch with us immediately, call us. FYI, Claire's # is also the Box-Office #.

Carey Harrison: Artistic Director,   845 417 8251

Claire Lambe: Company Manager, 845 901 2893




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