Then & Now: A Centennial Celebration of the Provincetown Players

Courtesy of Pilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum, Provincetown, MA,
Salvador R. Vasques III Collection

Provincetown, MA, the oldest continuous arts colony in the country, is also heralded as the birthplace of the Provincetown Players, whose innovations shaped modern American drama. In July 1915, new ideas about politics, feminism, arts, psychology, and theater came to artistic fruition in Provincetown with the creation of a non-commercial, experimental theater, led by Greenwich Village writers, painters and philosophers who traveled to the tip of Cape Cod to write, direct and act in short plays still recognized for their witty, perceptive social commentary.

The founding of the Provincetown Players established Provincetown as a center of modernism in the arts, and thus set the stage for playwrights Eugene O’Neill and Susan Glaspell.  To celebrate the 100th anniversary of this widely influential theatrical milestone, the Provincetown Theater will host THE PROVINCETOWN PLAYERS CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION in July 2015. The theater will present “THEN AND NOW,” with four productions each evening, of short plays written during the Provincetown Players’ formative years:

SUPPRESSED DESIRES by George Cram Cook and Susan Glaspell
Produced by Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater
Directed by Jeffry George

CONSTANCY by Neith Boyce
Produced by the Provincetown Theater
Directed by Brian Carlson

TRIFLES by Susan Glaspell
Produced by the Payomet Performing Arts Center
Directed by Sarah MacDonnell

THE SNIPER by Eugene O’Neill
Produced by CTEK Arts
Directed by Margaret Van Sant

Each play is performed on every date.

Friday, July 10 at 1pm Readings of “The Outside” (1917) by Susan Glaspell and “Tickless Time” (1918) by Glaspell and George Cram “Jig” Cook. Both plays are set in Provincetown.
Saturday, July 11 at 2pm: Readings of “Contemporaries” by Wilbur Daniel Steele and “Change Your Style” by “Jig” Cook. Both plays debuted the first year of the Provincetown Players in 1915. The readings will take place at the Provincetown Theatre and are free to the public.

Saturday, July 11th, the Provincetown Theater will host the Eugene O’Neill Society and the Susan Glaspell Society for a day of presentations at the theater. The plays will be presented at 6PM, followed by a Humanities Panel at 8PM moderated by Susan Rand Brown, with O’Neill and Glaspell scholars Robert M. Dowling, Linda Ben-Zvi, Jeffrey Kennedy, and Pulitzer Prize winning American Playwright Tony Kushner. Reception at 9:00pm with John Thomas on piano. Tickets are $50 for Plays, Panel & Reception.

Sunday, July 12th a Breakfast Brunch will honor the Societies at 11:00AM, followed by a book talk by Robert M. Dowling, author of “Eugene O’Neill: A Life in Four Acts.” Dowling will be available to sign copies of the biography, named a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist in biography for 2014. $10 Suggested Donation.


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