ORLANDO – Sometimes it really helps to have the right friends.
And Canadian playwright Stephen Massicotte is certainly one of them.
“He is a wonderful comedian and playwright who wrote the play ‘Mary’s Wedding,’ which we produced here in our 8th season,” said David Mink, the director of audience development at the Mad Cow Theatre in downtown Orlando. “It was a very beautiful show, and very popular with our Central Florida audiences.”
Just as audiences reacted quite well to the production, it would appear that Massicotte was also pleased with the work that Mad Cow did bringing his show to life, Mink said.
“Along with some of the actors that were involved in ‘Mary’s Wedding,’ Stephen has maintained a relationship with the people he met in association with that production,” Mink said.
So when Massicotte arranged a visit to Orlando, he decided to look up his old friends, and made them an offer they simply couldn’t refuse.
“He literally planned to be in Central Florida and said ‘Let me call some of my friends here and see what we can do’ ,” Mink said.
The result is that Massicotte asked Mad Cow Theatre to stage a reading of his play “The Clockmaker” while he’s in town. Mink said the theater’s answer was obvious: Of course!
Massicotte will join Mad Cow for a one-night-only reading of “The Clockmaker” on Thursday, Dec. 29 at 7:30 p.m. The play has received positive, even glowing reviews, and it won the Best New Play at the 2009 Betty Mitchell Awards, which celebrates professional theater in Calgary, Canada.
There will also be a talk back session with the cast and playwright after the reading. The cast includes Michael Marinaccio, Timothy Williams, Heather Leonardi, Don Fowler, and Sam Hazell.
“It’s been something that I’ve wanted to do for a couple of years,” Marinaccio said. “Stephen sent it to me. We became friends after Heather Leonardi and I did ‘Mary’s Wedding’ at Mad Cow. Stephen came down and did a talk back at ‘Mary’s Wedding,’ and we took Stephen to Disney and bonded over Star Wars Weekend.”
“It’s a mystery, so we can’t really give away too, too much about it — and to be honest, I don’t even know the ending myself,” Mink said. “But it’s going to be a really emotional ride. There are several ways to connect with this show, and I think that our audience is going to like the characters.”
Although this is a staged reading, Mink said, the actors and crew have been working … well, around the clock to ensure that audiences get a truly first rate show.
“This has been a whirlwind, and we have started to get immersed in it as we speak,” he said.
This is also a part of what Mad Cow Theatre likes to do, Mink added.
In addition to a full season coming up – which includes productions of “Dancing at Lughnasa” by Brian Friel (Feb. 3-March 4), “Hedda Gabler” by Henrick Ibsen (Feb. 24-March 25), and “Private Lives” by Noel Coward (March 30-April 29) – Mad Cow also likes to offer stage readings whenever possible, sometimes as a fund-raiser.
“This is an opportunity to present it as a reading to a new audience,” Mink said. “The frequency of how often we do readings is some seasons we do five, and some seasons we do two. They’re just a great way to engage a Central Florida audience, and give them an opportunity to see something different than what they’re used to seeing. Sometimes they are fund-raisers — it just depends on what we’re trying to do. For this one in particular, because this is a title most people probably have not seen or heard of yet, we’re very thankful Stephen will be here to present it to us.”
“The Clockmaker” is described as a love story, mystery, thriller – and jigsaw puzzle, which tells the story of Heinrich Mann, a humble clockmaker who falls in love with a married woman and becomes enmeshed in a mysterious crime. The Calgary Herald praised the play’s initial run as ““a brilliant and wonderfully funny romantic mystery about memory and time.”
“Stephen sent me this script and as soon as I read it, I immediately wanted to do it,” Marinaccio said. “I think it’s the most mature piece he’s done yet. It shows a lot more technique and skill than his previous work, and I love that the audience really gets clued in when they need to. He doesn’t confuse the audience — it’s suspenseful in that way, and he is a master at it in this one. I love that about it, and I’m super-excited about this one.”
Tickets to the show will be offered on a pay-what-you-wish at the door basis. Call the Mad Cow Theatre box office at 407-297-8788, Ext. 1 for more information. The show runs for 70 minutes without intermission.
The theater is at 105 S. Magnolia Ave. in downtown Orlando.
Contact us at FreelineOrlando@Gmail.com.