Tuesday, September 23, 2008

New Century Theatre Company Presents Inaugural Production

Determination and Donations Are Paying Off

The Adding Machine by Elmer Rice
Run Dates/Times: Nov. 13 - Dec 13, 2008; Thur. - Sat. 8pm; Sun. 2pm
Opening Night: Nov. 14, 2008 8pm
Location: ACT’s Falls Theatre Space
700 Union Street, Seattle

New Century Theatre Company (NCTC), Seattle’s newest professional theater, will make its official debut at ACT Theatre’s Falls Theatre space with Elmer Rice’s rarely produced American masterpiece, The Adding Machine. NCTC was founded by eight well-respected Seattle theater artists - Hans Altwies, Paul Morgan Stetler, Amy Thone, Michael Patten, Stephanie Timm, Ray Gonzalez, Jennifer Lee Taylor and MJ Sieber - who share a deep desire to help reinvigorate Seattle’s national reputation as a vibrant force of cutting-edge, ambitious, relevant theater. Locally respected theater artists Darragh Kennan, Betsy Schwartz, and Peter Dylan O’Connor have recently joined NCTC to bring the company’s membership to eleven.
NCTC is devoted to producing timely, vital stories that will reconnect Seattle audiences to the
transcendent power of live performance. NCTC members believe that “story is king” and are
committed to plays that are fearless, heightened, sincere, dangerous, crass, erotic, ugly, and full of hope. NCTC’s focus is on timely works of the 20th Century; provocative “second looks” of underproduced, newer contemporary masterpieces; and annual world premieres from some of our country’s most talented up-and-coming writers. It is NCTC’s goal to provide the Seattle community with a fearless ensemble of local artists whose vast experience and developed sense of chemistry provide a cohesive, dynamic, consistent theater-going experience they believe audiences crave.
The idea for NCTC began in late 2006 when longtime friends Hans Altwies and Paul Stetler were
performing together for the first time in a production of Edward Albee’s The Lady From Dubuque at Seattle Rep. “We were frustrated by all the theaters that were closing in our city,” Stetler said. “The Bathhouse, The Group, Tacoma Actor’s Guild, The Empty Space…they were dropping like flies.” Altwies agrees, “So, we figured why not take up the mantle and bring something new and exciting to our city.” The fact that Stetler (married to playwright Stephanie Timm) and Altwies (married to The 2007 Stranger Genius Award Winner Amy Thone) are also next-door neighbors allowed for many latenight, impassioned conversations. Altwies remembers, “What started out as a hypothetical situation very quickly turned into something serious. We couldn’t stop talking about it.” Thone and Timm quickly became intrigued as did good friend (Executive Director) Michael Patten. A close-knit group of well-seasoned local actors soon joined in. “It just sort of materialized organically,” Stetler says. “We were a company before we even knew it.”
The long hard road to developing a new theatre company has certainly been peppered with obstacles; most of them financial. The Adding Machine, a huge and highly theatrical play, was purposefully selected as the piece that will launch NCTC with a BANG! The budget for this inaugural show is roughly $55,000 and NCTC has single-handedly raised just over one-half of that strictly from personal donations by friends, family and the Seattle theater community at large. Two more fundraisers are scheduled for late September and October. “We are amazed at the support and enthusiasm that is coming our way. It feels like we have our finger on the pulse of something very exciting,” says Stetler. “It’s true,” adds Altwies. “Seattle is showing with their pocketbook that they are ready for something new.”
NCTC has also received tremendous guidance from ACT Theatre – to whom they are extremely
grateful – and wonderful support from their financial partner organization, Shunpike. “But we’re not out of the woods, yet,” Stetler is quick to point out. “We still have quite a ways to go.”
The Adding Machine, will be directed by John Langs (King Lear, Romeo & Juliet Seattle
Shakespeare Co.; Louis Slotin Sonata Empty Space, Crumbs Are Also Bread WET) and the cast will feature the acting talents of company members Paul Morgan Stetler, Amy Thone, Darragh Kennan, Jennifer Lee Taylor, and MJ Sieber. Other cast members include Tracy Hyland, Evan Whitfield, Jane May, Joseph P. McCarthy, Kate Wisniewski, Jonah Von Sprechen, Kate Witt, Erwin Galan, Noah Benezra and Kate Parker. The creative team includes: set designer Jennifer Zeyl, lighting designer Geoff Korf, sound designer Rob Witmer, and costume designer Pete Rush. Props will be handled by Christy Penny and the Stage Manager will be Lori Amondson.
The Adding Machine will be produced under a Letter of Agreement with the Actor’s Equity
Association. Tickets are $25 ($20 for patrons under 25, with a valid ID) and are currently available at the ACT Ticket Office, 700 Union Street, downtown Seattle, (206) 292-7676 or online at www.acttheatre.org. For more information about the New Century Theatre Company visit www.newcenturytheatrecompany.org

About The Adding Machine
Written in 1923, this groundbreaking play, with its themes of American business and quiet lives of desperation, is not only considered to be the first piece of expressionistic theater in the United States, but is also a surprisingly up-to-the-minute attack on the dehumanizing effect technology has on modern society. This serio-comic tale follows the exploits of Mr. Zero, a hard working, psuedo-Everyman as he toils through his rather inconsequential existence only to discover that after years of soul-rending dedication to his job, he'll soon be replaced by a machine. Mr. Zero does not take this news lightly and his choices will soon send him on a path discovering the true nature of his existence.

Top Row (from L to R): Michael Patten, Jennifer Lee Taylor, Peter Dylan O’Connor, Ray Gonzalez, Darragh Kennan,
Middle Row: Paul Morgan Stetler, Stephanie Timm, Betsy Schwartz.
Bottom Row: Amy Thone, Hans Altwies, and MJ Sieber.

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