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"With a degree in English lit (Ph.D., Yale ‘62), decades of acting and directing in community theater in and around Philadelphia, and finally a play of my own produced last year to much acclaim, my standards for good theater have over the years gotten pretty demanding. Which is why I was so delightfully surprised this past Sunday – astounded, actually – by a play at Actors’s NET in Morrisville called “Reckonings in New Hope.” It’s by a prolific, Emmy-winning, movie and TV writer named Christopher Canaan. I learned that about six years ago Canaan left Los Angeles for the East Coast and landed in New Hope. He has obviously become a great fan of both his new Bucks locale and the people in it, as this discerning and charming love-letter of a play makes clear. In it, we watch and listen to three very different guys who after many years have returned to New Hope for their high school reunion. With some of the sharpest and funniest dialogue I have heard on stage – the set is a handsome hotel suite they’ve rented – they confess the delights and pains of their adolescence, plumb their career turns with insults and compassion, and prepare with sore regret and revived hopes to encounter over the weekend the heartthrobs who back then and afterwards fatefully got away. A fast-paced yet heartfelt mix of wit and emotion, it is consistently rewarding. I’m urging one and all to see this new play, in its final weekend Feb. 11-13. Sure hope you will." 

- Mort Paterson, Philadelphia, PA

TINSEL TOWN TRILOGY

Chery & I caught Sunday's matinee of Christopher Canaan's work in progress, THE TINSELTOWN TRILOGY, at The James Lorah House in Doylestown.  Had to, since he kept telling me about this three act play as we both worked on his recent ActorsNET production of THE BIG BAD WOLF.  In its trial run, THE TINSELTOWN TRILOGY is a delight.   He reveals (from first-hand experience) the agony and ecstasy of working in Hollywood - from the point of view of two older male actors and two older female screenwriters.  Their paths had crossed early in their careers -- romance bloomed, then wilted -- and they meet again in their later years.  Canaan and Joey Perillo teamed with Claudia Perry and Nona Niedert to present real, funny and often heartbreakingly touching stories of their characters' hopes and fears - both personal and professional. Kudos to each of the principals.  In supporting roles Rick Goodwin scored laughs in a brief appearance in the second act as the writer's inept agent, while Righteous R Jolly and Matt DiMarino delivered the goods in act three. The script is rich with reflections on both the film and television industries from the 40's through today, some name-dropping and observations on changing morality and social consciousness. Some of the language is as raw as the wounds these characters endured during their lives.  My opinion?  Keep at it, Chris Canaan -- these characters deserve a long life on many stages -- the sooner the better … because many of the references throughout the show may one day in the future  make the work seem dated.  But, now, and for a decade or so to come, it is fresh and well worth being seen and savored. Congrats to all involved!

-Joe Doyle
January 27, 2020 

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