Buffalo Theatre Ensemble Opens 2018-2019 Season With Mark Shanahan’s 'The Dingdong, or How the French Kiss' Sept. 6 to Oct. 7 at the MAC

Dingdong icon

By Ann Fink

Buffalo Theatre Ensemble, the professional Equity company in residence at the McAninch Arts Center at College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., opens its 2018-2019 season with “The Dingdong, or How the French Kiss,” a new adaptation by Mark Shanahan from “Le Dindon” by Georges Feydeau.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursday to Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 6 to Oct. 7, in the MAC’s Playhouse Theatre.

Directed by BTE Artistic Director Connie Canaday Howard, five actors play 13 roles in this bubbly, fast-paced adaptation of Feydeau’s classic, where opening the wrong door can lead to mayhem, giggles and ultimately some unexpected understandings of a happy marriage.

 “This is such a wonderful, fun romp, and we are so excited and honored to be able to produce the Chicago premiere of Mark Shanahan’s lovely adaptation for our audiences,” said Canaday Howard. “The entire team – designers, stage management, choreographer, dialect coach, cast, crew and myself – is having a hilarious time as we focus on creating the chaos that is the fun of the script. It’s a great way to kick off our season!”

In 1939 Paris, Lucy Vatelin, the straight-laced wife of a lawyer, is chased into her own home by Pontegnac, an impassioned lothario. When Pontegnac finds the only way Lucy would ever sleep with another man is in revenge for her husband’s infidelity, he invites her to go undercover and see the proof for herself. Hilarity ensues as a mostly faithful couple is tempted by sly suitors and femme fatales on one madcap night in two Parisian hotels.  The New York Times hails it as “hilarious,” and Front Row Center gives it a “Critic’s Pick – Best of the Year!”

The cast for “The Dingdong or How the French Kiss” includes Lisa Dawn* (Lucy Vatelin, Mme. Pinchard), recently seen in BTE’s production of “Time Stands Still;” Robert Jordan Bailey,* (Pontegnac, Soldignac, Dr. Pinchard), most recently seen in BTE’s production of the Jeff Recommended “Outside Mullingar;” Brad Lawrence (Vatelin), seen with Lisa Dawn in BTE’s 2018 production of “Time Stands Still;” Quinn Bayola (Redillon, Bellboy, Policeman) and Kelli Walker,* (Mme. Pontegnac, Fabiola, Mandy, Sexy French Maid) recently seen in BTE’s “Outside Mullingar.” The artistic/design team includes Connie Canaday Howard,* Pauline Oleksy (Scenic Design), Rachel Lambert (Costume Design), Cat Wilson (Lighting Design), Chris Kriz* (Sound Design) and Mary O’Dowd (Properties Design). Neil Massey is Fight Director. Stage Manager is Stephanie Hurovitz; Assistant Stage Manager is Danielle Wiseman. Student Assistant Stage Manager is BTE Scholarship Recipient Renata Hatcher. * Denotes BTE Ensemble Member

Shanahan (Adapter) is an Edgar Award-nominated playwright (“The Chronology Protection Case,” 2003). His directorial work has been seen on stages across the country. New York acting credits include the Broadway hit “The 39 Steps” (American Airlines, Cort Theatre); “Small World” (59E59); “The Shaughraun” and “Tryst” (Irish Rep). Regionally, he has appeared extensively at Hartford Theatreworks, The Bay Street Theatre, Pioneer Theatre, Merrimack Rep, The Denver Center, The Kennedy Center and others. Shanahan’s television and film credits include “Late Night with David Letterman” (NBC), “All My Children” (ABC), “Kill Me,” “Safe Men,” “Bug,” “Endsville,” “Yellow” and “Mad About Harry.” He is a graduate of Brown University and holds an MA from Fordham University, where he teaches. The script for “The Dingdong, or How the French Kiss,” was developed in Northwest Arkansas in 2015 before its 2016 Off-Broadway premiere at The Pearl Theatre Co.

Connie Canaday Howard (Director/BTE Artistic Director) has directed numerous productions for BTE. Some of her favorites include “Noises Off,” “Into the Woods,” “Dancing at Lughnasa,” “The Mystery of Irma Vep,” “Rabbit Hole” and “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune.” Most recently, she directed “Time Stands Still” (2018) and the Jeff Recommended production of “Good People” (2017). Favorite acting roles with BTE have been Annie in “The Real Thing,” Harper in “Angels in America” and Ruella in “Communicating Doors.” Canaday Howard is also Theater Department Chair at COD where she has directed “The Addams Family — A New Musical,” “Grease,” “Rumors,” “Taming of the Shrew” and “The Three Musketeers,” among others. She holds an MFA in directing and has worked regionally with Three Rivers Shakespeare Festival, City Theatre Company Belvoir Terrace, Drama Workshop, Down River Dinner Theatre, Ingersoll Theatre, Charlie’s Showplace and theater and dance tours. She has also helped to create and has performed in several improvisational shows. A proud member of Actor’s Equity Association, she is on the Artist Team of the Jeff Committee, is state-wide co-chair of the Theatre Panel for Illinois Articulation Initiative and received COD’s Outstanding Faculty award for 2003-2004.

Tickets are $40. A pre-show discussion with the director and designers is set for 6:45 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6. A post-show discussion with the director, actors and crew is set for Friday, Sept. 14.

For more information, visit atthemac.org or call (630)942-4000. All BTE 2018-2019 season performances contain adult themes and language.

 

 

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