Even in difficult economic times, local theater is alive and well on the North Fork with Northeast Stage’s upcoming performance of “ ‘night, Mother,” debuting Thursday evening at in Greenport.
“‘night, Mother,” directed by Lenore DeKoven and produced by Lois Eigabroadt (who is also the set designer and stage manager), features Jere Jacobs and Amie Sponza in a powerful production about a mother trying to convince her suicidal daughter that life is worth living.
Both women are seasoned actors and directors. Sponza is the current president of Northeast Stage and has been involved with the organization as actor, director, and producer for 25 years. Jacobs has directed off-off Broadway, appeared in productions, and has read T. S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets” and Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory".
The women have directed each other in performances and when Jacobs approached Sponza about performing in Marsha’s Norman’s Pulitzer Prize winning play, Sponza could not refuse.
“We both felt it was challenging, powerful material,” Sponza said.
Northeast Stage has a long tradition of providing year-round entertainment to theater goers on the North Fork.The group uses its winter performances to pay for the annual Shakespeare in the Park, which the group has performed for free in in Greenport.
Sponza said the group began as the Greenport Summer Players with the production of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” back in 1982 and then a couple of years later, changed the name to Northeast Stage and filed for non-profit status.
The non-profit status has allowed the theater to apply for grants over the years to help with funding. Today, Sponza said, many of those grant sources are no longer available and they rely on the generosity of the community. When decided not to help fund the Shakespeare in the Park performance last summer, it was a blow to the organization. While the actors and actresses perform for free and the group has its own lighting, microphones are necessary and the village had always picked up the $4,000 cost in the past.
At this point, the group has not made plans for Shakespeare in the Park for this summer and is looking for alternative venues.
''night, Mother" will run Thursday, Jan. 19 through Saturday, Jan. 21 and Thursday, Jan. 26 and Saturday, Jan. 28 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 22 at 5 p.m. at the in Greenport. Tickets are $15.