The Play

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Photo by Kyler Taustin


At a secluded English country estate, a young woman takes a job as a governess to a pair of recently orphaned children. But soon after her arrival, ghostly visions and strange occurrences reveal a sinister presence around her young charges. Is the estate haunted by restless spirits? Are the children somehow complicit? Or has her fear and imagination taken hold of her?

Simple Machine presents The Turn of the Screw this November, bringing Henry James’ classic gothic thriller to two historic Boston settings. This adaptation by Jeffrey Hatcher ratchets up the psychological suspense and intimacy of the story with two actors playing all the roles. Anna Waldron plays the eager young governess, determined to protect the children in her care at all costs. Stephen Libby takes on the rest of the characters of the story, from the children’s distant uncle, to the estate’s housekeeper, to the troubled 10-year-old boy. The production will be directed by M. Bevin O’Gara.

Performances take place in two historic landmarks in Boston, The Gibson House Museum, and the Taylor House Bed & Breakfast. Built as homes in the 1850s, both houses provide an intimate and authentic space for the 1898 ghost story. Seating will be extremely limited for this exceptional production.

The Venues

Performing at the Gibson House Museum and the Taylor House Bed & Breakfast.

Gibson House Museum
Nov. 8, 9, 10, 15, (sold out), 21, & 22 (SOLD OUT!)

ADDED PERFORMANCES:
Wednesday, November 20 @ 7:30PM
Sunday, November 24 at 7:30PM

137 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02116

The grand staircase in the foyer serves as the stage in this historic house.

MBTA

- Green Line to Arlington Street
- Walk up Arlington Street to Beacon
- Left on Beacon
- Gibson House Museum is on the left

PARKING
Street parking is the cheapest option, but can be hard to come by. The Boston Common Garage is just a couple of blocks away on Charles Street and is one of the least expensive garages.

 

Taylor House Bed & Breakfast
Nov. 14, 16, 17, & 23 (SOLD OUT!)

ADDED PERFORMANCE:
Saturday, November 23 at 4:30PM

50 Burroughs Street, Boston, MA 02130

Performed in an intimate in-the-round staging in the music room.

MBTA
- Orange Line to Green Street
- Walk up Green Street and turn left on Centre Street
- Quick right on Burroughs Street
- Taylor House B & B is on the left

PARKING
Lots are available after 6 PM behind the Bank of America at the corner of Centre Street and Burroughs Street, and behind the Blanchard’s at 741 Centre Street.

 

There will be no intermission and late seating for these performances. Performances at The Gibson House Museum will not be appropriate for patrons with mobility issues. It is recommended that anyone who has difficulty with stairs attend performances at the Taylor House Bed & Breakfast.

The Reviews

Terry Byrne, Boston Globe:
“A haunting production that takes terrific advantage of Jeffrey Hatcher’s spare adaptation… an imaginative alternative to traditional theater. And it will encourage you to steer clear of shadows.”
Full Review>>

Nancy Grossman, Broadway World:
“Director M. Bevin O’Gara and Lighting Designer Ian King create a creepy atmosphere, masterfully ratcheting up the tension and suspense…Libby and Waldron display incredible focus and concentration – they seem more aware of the story’s ghosts than the corporeal figures whose eyes are intent upon them…Whether or not you believe in ghosts, their spellbinding performances will scare the bejeezers out of you.”
Full Review>>

Jack Craib, South Shore Critic:
“A wonderfully eerie experience. Seldom is theater so close-up and chillingly personal. [Director] M. Bevin O’Gara… tackles this famous ghost tale with her typical ingenuity… [actors Anna] Waldron and [Stephen] Libby… are both terrific… it is engrossing theater for the discriminating theatergoer.”
Full Review>> (Note: Plot details at the end of the second paragraph)

Kevin Fennessey, Boston Events Insider:
“Imaginative ‘Turn of the Screw’ a Winner (4 Stars)… it’ll keep you entranced as the story unfolds… The Turn of the Screw is one of the hottest tickets in town.”
Full Review>>

Al Chase, The White Rhino Report:
“The intimate settings make the ghostly content of the play all the more mysterious and eerie…The combination of the uniqueness of the setting, the richness of the tale, and the believability of the actors made it a compelling evening of theatre. ”
Full Review>>

The Photos

Click the images below to download high resolution JPGs. All photos by Kyler Taustin.

Stephen Libby and Anna Waldron in "The Turn of the Screw" at the Gibson House Museum. Photo by Kyler Taustin.

Stephen Libby and Anna Waldron in The Turn of the Screw at the Gibson House Museum. Photo by Kyler Taustin.

Stephen Libby and Anna Waldron in "The Turn of the Screw" at the Gibson House Museum. Photo by Kyler Taustin.

Stephen Libby and Anna Waldron in The Turn of the Screw at the Gibson House Museum. Photo by Kyler Taustin.

Anna Waldron in The Turn of the Screw. Photo by Kyler Taustin

Anna Waldron in The Turn of the Screw. Photo by Kyler Taustin

Anna Waldron in The Turn of the Screw. Photo by Kyler Taustin.

Anna Waldron in The Turn of the Screw. Photo by Kyler Taustin.

Stephen Libby and Anna Waldron in The Turn of the Screw. Photo by Kyler Taustin.

Stephen Libby and Anna Waldron in The Turn of the Screw. Photo by Kyler Taustin.

Stephen Libby in The Turn of the Screw. Photo by Kyler Taustin.

Stephen Libby in The Turn of the Screw. Photo by Kyler Taustin.

Anna Waldron in The Turn of the Screw. Photo by Kyler Taustin.

Anna Waldron in The Turn of the Screw. Photo by Kyler Taustin.

Anna Waldron and Stephen Libby in The Turn of the Screw. Photo by Kyler Taustin.

Anna Waldron and Stephen Libby in The Turn of the Screw. Photo by Kyler Taustin.

Anna Waldron and Stephen Libby in The Turn of the Screw. Photo by Kyler Taustin.

Anna Waldron and Stephen Libby in The Turn of the Screw. Photo by Kyler Taustin.

Stephen Libby in The Turn of the Screw. Photo by Kyler Taustin.

Stephen Libby in The Turn of the Screw. Photo by Kyler Taustin.

Anna Waldron and Stephen Libby in The Turn of the Screw. Photo by Kyler Taustin.

Anna Waldron and Stephen Libby in The Turn of the Screw. Photo by Kyler Taustin.

The Artists

OGara1M. BEVIN O’GARA (Director) Local directing credits include Clybourne Park and Tribes (SpeakEasy Stage); You for Me For You, Love Person, and The Pain and the Itch (Company One); Matt and Ben (Central Square Theater); Two Wives in India and Gary (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre); 2.5 Minute Ride (Downstage @ New Rep); Othello and The Crucible (New Rep On Tour); Melancholy Play (Holland Productions); Bat Boy: The Musical (Metro Stage); Tattoo Girl,Painting You, and Artifacts (Williamstown Theatre Festival Workshop); and ANTI-KISS (3 Monkeys Theatrical Productions). She has also worked with New Repertory Theatre, the Gaiety Theatre of Dublin, and the Actors Centre of Australia. Ms. O’Gara is an Associate Producer at the Huntington Theatre Company where she will be directing Melinda Lopez’s Becoming Cuba this spring. She has a BFA from Boston University in Theatre Studies.

headshotSTEPHEN LIBBY (Man) is thrilled to be appearing with Simple Machine, having directed our premiere production, rogerandtom, last year.  He has appeared locally playing Dylan Thomas in Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and Boston Children’s Theatre’s production of A Child’s Christmas in Wales. Audiences may remember him as Guildenstern in Bad Habit Productions’ Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, or as Rosencrantz in TheatreZone’s production. He has also appeared with Bad Habit as Rulon Stacey in The Laramie Project and as Milton and Don in All in the Timing. At TheatreZone, he has appeared as the Non-Believer in Anger Box, Dad / Elvis in Cooking with Elvis, Eisenring in The Firebugs, and Berenger in Rhinoceros. With the Publick Theatre, Stephen has appeared as Bunny in Misalliance, Dromio of Ephesus in Comedy of Errors, and Starveling in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He has also appeared locally with Wheelock Family Theatre, Exquisite Corps, Shakespeare Now!, Opera Boston, Makeshift Theatre Co., and on tour with Shakespeare & Company. Stephen has a BFA in Acting from Syracuse University.

Anna2ANNA WALDRON (Governess) is the co-found of Simple Machine, and appeared in our inaugural production, “rogerandtom”, last Spring.  Other performances in and around Boston include Tiffany in You For Me For You (Company One), Hero in Much Ado About Nothing (Arts After Hours), Edith in Blithe Spirit (Lyric Stage), Alex in On the Verge (The Nora), Felicity in The Real Inspector Hound (The Publick Theatre), Nell/May in Caryl Churchill’s Fen (Whistler in the Dark), Ruth in Book of Days, Mabel/Mrs. Cheveley in An Ideal Husband, All in the Timing, The Laramie Project (Bad Habit Productions), LutherRhinoceros, The Firebugs, Danny and the Deep Blue Sea and Cooking with Elvis (Apollinaire Theatre), The Comedy of Errors (Imaginary Beasts), Rock n’ Roll, As You Like It, and The Importance of Being Ernest (The Longwood Players).  Directing credits include Stop Kiss (Bad Habit Productions) and Alice in Wonderland (Make/Shift Theatre Co.)  This Spring Anna is directing Kiss Me Kate for The Longwood Players.  Thank you to my whole entire family, near and far, for supporting this endeavor, but most especially Stephen.

LIZ HAYES (Dialect Consultant) is a Boston-based actor, teaching artist and vocal coach. She has vocal and dialect/accent coached for many companies and institutions, including The Huntington Theatre Company, Company One, Underground Railway Theater, Boston Playwright’s Theatre, Whistler in the Dark, Boston Conservatory, Emerson College, Worcester State University and the Walnut Hill School for the Arts. Liz teaches Shakespeare at Walnut Hill and is a member of the Voice and Speech faculty at The Boston Conservatory.

EMILY WOODS HOGUE (Costume Designer) is delighted to return Simple Machine after coordinating costumes for last year’s rogerandtom! Upcoming costume design work includes Becky’s New Car at The Lyric Stage Company of Boston and Carrie the musical at SpeakEasy Stage. She will also be the assistant to the costume designer for The Whipping Man at New Repertory Theatre this winter. Ms. Woods Hogue graduated from Bennington College in Bennington, VT and holds a B.A. in both Costume Design and History. She resides in her ancestral homeland: Medford.

ELIZABETH RAMIREZ (Stage Manager) is excited to work with Simple Machine, they’ve been pretty rad. She studied English and Theater at Boston University. While there she was seen in Richard III, As You Like It, Love’s Labours’ Lost, and Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. She has also worked with Argos Productions and is currently the Artistic Director of The Calliope Project. Calliope credits include Unyfi (Director), Plaza Suite (Director), The Importance of Being Earnest (Director), Cyrano de Bergerac (Director), Hamlet (Polonius), Titus Andronicus (Lavinia). She enjoys napping and video games.

The Authors

HENRY JAMES (Author) was born in 1843 in New York City, but much of his youth was spent traveling in and around Europe. He briefly attended Harvard law school, but ultimately preferred literature to the law, publishing his first short story at the age of 21. James would go on to become a prolific writer of essays, short stories, letters and novels, and is known as one of the key figures of 19th century realism. His most famous works include: Daisy Miller (1879), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Bostonians (1886), What Maisie Knew (1897), The Wings of the Dove (1902), and he was a regular contributor to The Atlantic Monthly. His novella, The Turn of the Screw, was originally published in 1898, and has been retold countless times on film and stage, even inspiring an opera. James never married, and in his own words was “hopelessly celibate.” In 1876 he moved to England, living first in London and then retiring to Rye in Sussex. James officially became a British citizen in 1915 after the outbreak of World War I. He was awarded the Order of Merit January 1, 1916. Sadly, his health was already failing and he died February 28, 1916. His ashes are interred in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

JEFFREY HATCHER (Playwright) Broadway: Never Gonna Dance (book). Off-Broadway: Three Viewings and A Picasso at Manhattan Theatre Club; Scotland Road and The Turn of the Screw at Primary Stages; Tuesdays with Morrie (with Mitch Albom) at The Minetta Lane; Murder by Poe, The Turn of the Screw, and The Spy at The Acting Company; Neddy at American Place; and Fellow Travelers at Manhattan Punchline. Other Plays/Theaters: Compleat Female Stage Beauty, Mrs. Mannerly, Murderers, Mercy of a Storm, Smash, Armadale, Korczak’s Children, To Fool the Eye, The Falls, A Piece of the Rope, All the Way with LBJ, The Government Inspector, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and others at The Guthrie, Old Globe, Yale Rep, The Geffen, Seattle Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse, Cleveland Playhouse, South Coast Rep, Arizona Theater Company, San Jose Rep, The Empty Space, Indiana Rep, Children’s Theater Company, History Theater, Madison Rep, Intiman, Illusion, Denver Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Milwaukee Rep, Repertory Theater of St. Louis, Actors Theater of Louisville, Philadelphia Theater Company, Asolo, City Theater, Studio Arena and dozens more in the U.S. and abroad. Film/ TV: Stage Beauty, Casanova, The Duchess, and episodes of Columbo. Grants/Awards: NEA, TCG, Lila Wallace Fund, Rosenthal New Play Prize, Frankel Award, Charles MacArthur Fellowship Award, McKnight Foundation, Jerome Foundation, and Barrymore Award Best New Play. He is a member and/or alumnus of The Playwrights Center, the Dramatists Guild, the Writers Guild, and New Dramatists.

Behind the Scenes

Four questions with Director M. Bevin O’Gara:

We asked Turn of the Screw Director M. Bevin O’Gara about working with Simple Machine and her favorite ghost stories.

What drew you to this project?

Well basically Anna and Stephen. They’re both fun and talented. Who wouldn’t want to be in a rehearsal room with those two crazy kids! Also I love ghost stories and SCREW is one of the ultimate ghost stories of all time.

What is the biggest challenge for you of working in spaces like the Gibson and Taylor House that aren’t normally used for theatre performances?

Well it’s more of a challenge to think about the play in two very different places. We will basically be blocking the show twice. The focus of rehearsal is going to be about distance/proximity of characters more then it will be about “move to the chaise on this line”. This way there is a similar structure to the show in both locations for the actors to rely on and still allow for us to maximize the benefits of both of the locations.

What are you most excited about this process?

Working with Anna and Stephen…isn’t that enough? But I said that already. I’ve never actually done a site specific work quite like this, so that’s exciting, especially to do it at two different sites. And the potential to see a ghost at the Gibson house…that would be cool…I hope.

What’s your favorite ghost story and/or have you ever had a personal ghost story?

Call me a traditionalist but I’ve always loved Sleepy Hollow. I remember watching the Disney cartoon of it dozens of times as a kid. I remember reading all the Bruce Coville ghosts stories as a kid, those are pretty great if you’re a 13 year old girl.

 


Four questions with Costume Designer Emily Woods Hogue:

Turn of the Screw Costume Designer Emily Woods Hogue tells us about her days working with historical costumes…and her own run in with historical ghosts. 

What drew you to this project?

I was drawn to this project because I think “The Turn of the Screw” is a fantastic ghost story. I am also eager to tackle the late nineteenth-century both in terms of costume design and clothing construction.

What is the biggest challenge for you of working in spaces like the Gibson and Taylor House that aren’t normally used for theatre performances?

As a former museum worker and as someone who delights in old buildings, I am positively tickled by the idea of working in both of these historical spaces! I am not yet sure as to what kind of challenges will be presented… I guess I can say that I hope no scrappy poltergeists play “Hide-The-Costumes”!

What are you most excited about this process?

I am most excited about building a full late nineteenth-century dress for Anna as the Woman, but I am also very intrigued by figuring out changes from character to character for Stephen as the Man (hint: a top hat will be involved)!

What’s your favorite ghost story and/or have you ever had a personal ghost story?

When I was interning at Colonial Williamsburg, we were shooting a short feature on the site of the Jamestown Settlement at around midnight one night. I was sent out to my supervisor’s car to fetch something and as I was returning to the shoot, I could swear that something was watching me…and this feeling shook me directly to my core. So I bolted, like a five-year-old afraid of the dark.

Now, I’m usually the friend who watches horror movies on Netflix late at night with the lights off for funzies, so everyone I told this story to decided that I was actually a big chicken, regardless of my Romero-lovin’ bravado. However! When it broke this past year that the Jamestown Settlement had to resort to cannibalism in their most desperate hours in the winter of 1609-1610, I felt a little vindicated… maybe I had just passed through a pocket of hungry ghosts!