Fanny Church................ Amy Griffith
Gardner Church....... Robert Bethune
Margaret Church.............. Sayre Fox
Gardner and Fanny Church are preparing to move out of their Beacon Hill house to their summer cottage on Cape Cod. Gardner, once a famous poet, now is retired. He slips in and out of senility as his wife Fanny valiantly tries to keep them both afloat. They have asked their daughter, Mags, to come home and help them move. Mags agrees, for she hopes as well to finally paint their portrait. She is now on the verge of artistic celebrity herself and hopes, by painting her parents, to come to terms with them and they with her. Mags triumphs in the end as Fanny and Gardner actually step through the frame and become a work of art ineffable and timeless.
And from the new PTD Newsletter... an interview with Laura Bird, director for Painting Churches:
DELIGHTFUL DIRECTOR ALIGHTS IN YPSILANTI
Laura Bird, director of the upcoming PTD Production, “Painting Churches,” by Tina Howe, begins her theatrical resume’ in an unusual way. “I was the shortest person in my class, so I was chosen to play Pinocchio in the 4th grade play. It was my one and only title role.”
Many theater types get hooked on the adulation they get from displaying their performing talents. For Laura, it was different. Although she loved to act, she learned to do without playing lead roles. She loved the process of theatrical storytelling—backstage, set design, props—practically everything! She also loved the feeling of being surrounded by a creative “family” of people sharing in the same wonderful pursuit. During her academic training at Eastern Michigan University, she discovered what she refers to as the “pure joy” of directing.
Laura had always assumed that she would grow up to do something different from her college professor parents. She was not considering teaching, but she loved to learn. Directing taught her that teaching and learning can be the same thing. Directing became a shared journey of discovery and a new way to communicate. Her inner teacher emerged. Her master’s degree led to employment, building a theater program at Concordia College (now University). While there, she commuted to Michigan State University, earning her doctorate.
When Concordia chose to eliminate its academic theater program, Laura needed to find a new creative home. She was recently hired to teach theatrical arts to young people at the Greenhills School in Ann Arbor. She is excited for the fresh opportunity, but still has some additional goals. One goal is to direct “Painting Churches.” “When I read it, I loved it immediately. It keeps you laughing right up to the serious parts. I think the dysfunctional family is a universal theme. Every family is at least a little dysfunctional.”
Laura is thrilled with her talented cast. She says that she often goes home from rehearsal more excited than when she arrived. Some nights she even finds it difficult to sleep! She hopes our audience will have a similar feeling after seeing “Painting Churches.”