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In “Annapurna,” David Henderson and Susannah Hough Plunge into an Emotional Whirlpool

The Honest Pint Theatre Company and North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre production of "Annapurna," directed by Dana Marks, stars David Henderson and Susannah Hough (photo by Alex Maness)

The Honest Pint Theatre Company and North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre production of “Annapurna,” directed by Dana Marks, stars David Henderson and Susannah Hough (photo by Alex Maness)

The Honest Pint Theatre Company and North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre will present the regional premiere of Sharr White’s 2011 San Francisco, 2013 Los Angeles, and 2014 Off-Broadway two-character play, Annapurna, starring David Henderson as Ulysses and Susannah Hough as Emma, under the direction of Dana Marks, on Aug. 21-23 and 28-30 and Sept. 4-6 at NRACT in the Greystone Village Shopping Center.

In reviewing the 2011 San Francisco production of this two-hander for his blog, My Cultural Landscape, George Heymont wrote: “For the past 20 years Emma and Ulysses have been nurturing deep emotional scars and emptying bags of salt into the festering wounds of what was once a happy marriage. And yet, at the heart of each character, is a lyricism that simply can’t be suffocated. Sharr White has created two fine and ferociously damaged people caught in the emotional whirlpool of not being able to live with or without each other.”

“[Earlier this year,] I read about the [2014 New York] production that starred Megan Mullally and her husband, Nick Offerman,” says Durham, NC actress and director Dana Marks, who serves as managing director of Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern. “Then David [Henderson] contacted me about directing for Honest Pint, we met, and he handed me the script. It’s the first time I’d read it.”

What does Marks like best about this show, and what made her want to direct it? “David Henderson and Susannah Hough,” Marks replies without hesitation. “I liked the play a lot when I read it, yet it was knowing I was going to get to work with two of the area’s best actors that sold me. A play has its merits on the page, but they are meant to be physicalized. And no matter how good a play is, if you don’t have high-caliber actors for it, it doesn’t quite get as realized as it could.”

When asked to provide a thumbnail of the show’s plot, Marks becomes cagey: “In order not to give too much away, this is what I’ll give you: Ulysses (David Henderson) and Emma (Susannah Hough) reunite after 20 years under strange circumstances. Emma arrives at Uly’s mountain purgatory, escaping some personal circumstances of her own and bearing some important news. Something’s coming very soon, and the two of them need to hash out the event that killed their relationship all those years ago, except one of them doesn’t remember the event at all, while the other is looking for answers that can’t be found.”

Marks adds, “When you are working with the best, there are no major challenges [for the director, cast, and creative team]. Everything just works. Of course, a set needs to be built; and audiences need to be lured […. But], again, I’m working with talented, kind, enthusiastic people; and those ingredients are all you really need to get anything done!”

In addition to director Dana Marks, the Honest Pint and NRACT creative team for Annapurna includes technical director and set designer Miyuki Su and stage manager Ryan Brock.

Honest Pint founder and artistic director David Henderson notes, “The play takes place in a trailer at the base of a mountain range in Paonia, Colorado. The entire show occurs in Ulysses’ run-down trailer.”

He adds, “This is the regional premiere of this piece, and Honest Pint Theatre Company and NRACT are excited to bring this ‘visceral and profound meditation on love and loss with the simplest of theatrical elements: two people in one room’ to life. This is truly ‘a breathtaking story about the longevity of love.'” (Note: The foregoing quotes are from the Dramatists Play Service, Inc. writeup about the play.)

SECOND OPINION: Aug. 19th Durham, NC Indy Week mini-preview by Byron Woods: http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/annapurna/Event?oid=4626875; and Aug. 19th Raleigh, NC Triangle on Stage interview with David Henderson and Susannah Hough, conducted by Alex Matsuo: https://www.spreaker.com/user/triangleonstage/honest-pint-theatres-annapurna.

The Honest Pint Theatre Company and North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre present ANNAPURNA at 8 p.m. Aug. 21 and 22, 3 p.m. Aug. 23, 8 p.m. Aug. 28 and 29, 3 p.m. Aug. 30, 8 p.m. Sept. 4 and 5, and 3 p.m. Sept. 6 at NRACT, 7713-51 Lead Mine Rd., Raleigh, NC 27615, in the Greystone Village Shopping Center.

TICKETS: $17 evenings and $15 matinees ($14 evenings and $12 matinees students and teachers, seniors, and active-duty military personnel), except $10 First Sunday Matinee on Aug. 23rd.

BOX OFFICE: 919-866-0228, info@nract.org, or http://nract.org/tickets.

SHOW: http://nract.org/upcoming-productions/annapurna, http://www.honestpinttheatre.org/#!annapurna/cids, and https://www.facebook.com/events/1640535516213160/.

VIDEO PREVIEW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvcmL3aa21U.

CO-PRESENTER:

Honest Pint Theatre Company: http://www.honestpinttheatre.org/ and https://www.facebook.com/honestpinttheatrecompany. HPTC BLOG: http://www.honestpinttheatre.org/#!blog/cb1n.

CO-PRESENTER/VENUE:

North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre: http://www.nract.org/, https://www.facebook.com/NRACT, and https://twitter.com/NRACT.

MAP/DIRECTIONS: https://www.google.com/maps/.

OTHER LINKS:

Annapurna (2011 San Francisco, 2013 Los Angeles, and 2014 Off-Broadway play): http://www.dramatists.com/cgi-bin/db/single.asp?key=4757 (Dramatists Play Service, Inc.), http://www.sharrwhite.com/annapurna.html (Sharr White’s website), http://www.lortel.org/ and (Internet Off-Broadway Database).

The Script: http://books.google.com/ (Google Books).

Sharr White (playwright): http://www.sharrwhite.com/ (official website), http://www.lortel.org/ (Internet Off-Broadway Database), http://www.ibdb.com/person.php?id=493080 (Internet Broadway Database, and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharr_White (Wikipedia).

Dana Marks (Durham, NC guest director and managing director of Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern): http://littlegreenpig.com/members/ (Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern bio) and https://www.facebook.com/dana.marks.5 (Facebook page).

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing robertm748@aol.com and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail robertm748@aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)

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