Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Letter to our Patrons

November 1, 2020

To say 2020 has been an extraordinary year is an understatement! A year that began as a celebration of the 20th Anniversary of M&D Playhouse became a year of challenge never before faced by this company as well as all of you.

Through much deliberation and soul wrenching scenarios, we made the difficult decision to cancel the remainder of our 2020 season and to postpone the opening of the 2021 season until April. As much as we would love to keep producing live theatre, we are now exploring potential virtual alternatives.

Thanks to your generous support in the past, M&D was able to move into the historic Eastern Slope Inn Playhouse in 2019. Throughout that move we continued to produce the award-winning plays which inspire, nurture, challenge, amaze, educate, and empower artists and audiences until March of this year.  Community theatre relies on its community to survive, as ticket sales cover a mere 35% of our operating expenses. As we have had 8 months of zero income and anticipate another 5 months until reopening, we need your help more than ever. Even though the lights will be off at the historic Eastern Slope Inn Playhouse, rent, maintenance, insurance and more constitute a monthly payment that is unavoidable.

We cannot continue to do this work without financial support. A gift today of $50, $100, $250 or whatever you can afford would go a long way to helping M&D to survive.  We hope you’ll consider making a tax-deductible gift to support our theatre so we may continue our productions and programming. With over 35 NH Theatre Awards and the NETC Award for Excellence in the American Theatre, M&D has proven that quality live theatre has a place in this vibrant community.

Community theatre enriches the lives of those who take an active part in it, as well as those in the community who benefit from live theatre productions. On either side of the footlights, those involved represent a diversity of age, culture, life experience, and a strong appreciation of the importance of the arts.

Thank you in advance for your generous support! Best always,

Deborah Jasien – Executive Director

Share and Enjoy !

M&D Playhouse announces cancellation of season

October 11, 2020

M&D Playhouse at the Eastern Slope Inn Playhouse has announced the suspension of the remainder of the 2020 season. Citing current news predicting further COVID surges and a re-evaluation of the spread through ventilation systems and potentially more dangerous transmission the organization’s board of directors has made the tough decision to cease operations until spring 2021.

A year that began as a celebration of the 20th Anniversary of M&D Playhouse became a year of challenge for this company as well as all businesses in the community. After a tremendously successful presentation of THE ODD COUPLE, programming was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic just weeks before the opening of the Theatre Arts Studio production of MATILDA the Musical. In addition, the theatre lost the ability to present the much-anticipated summer season which included CLUE Onstage, CABARET and a return of the singing competition VOICE OF THE VALLEY.

M&D ventured to bring a series of plays in September/October abiding by CDC guidelines and all precautions to keep actors, staff, volunteers and patrons safe, but attendance was minimal and they had to take a hard look at the future of the company.
“We are so disappointed to come to this conclusion”, said Deborah Jasien, Executive Director. “Our organization maintained the highest level of security protocols during this time and while we feel confident in the safety of our theatre space we have come to the undeniable reality that our audiences are not ready to come back to the playhouse.

With 37 NH Theatre Awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award for founding director Ken Martin, and the NETC Award for Excellence in the American Theatre, M&D has proven that quality live theatre has a place in this vibrant community.

“While we wait to see what the long-lasting effects Covid-19 will have on entertainment venues, we are hopeful we can get back to producing live theatre to the community in 2021 and will be announcing our new season by the end of the year,” said Artistic Director Mark Sickler. “In the meantime, we are now exploring potential virtual alternatives, including a one man presentation of A Christmas Carol”.

”Our community has been very generous through these challenging times and we are grateful. We hope for continued support as it will be instrumental in launching our 2021 season,” said Jasien.

M&D Playhouse, an IRS 501(c)3 non-profit organization, became the theatre in residence at the historic Eastern Slope Inn Playhouse in 2019, after 10 years at Willow Commons. For more information or to make a donation, please visit MDPlayhouse.com.

Share and Enjoy !

COVID-19 Screening Questions

JULY 29, 2020
Please be advised that if you say “yes” to any of the following questions,
we will ask that you not attend the evening’s performance and come back on a day that you are feeling better. We will gladly offer you a refund. 

  1. Have you been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for or is expected to have COVID-19? 
  2. In the last 72 hours, have you experienced any of the following symptoms?
    1. Fever/felt feverish
    2. Chills, muscle aches or fatigue
    3. Headache
    4. Respiratory symptoms – runny nose, sore throat, cough, difficulty breathing
    5. Abdominal pain
    6. Chest pain 

Share and Enjoy !

COVID-19 Ticketing Protocol

JULY 29, 2020
All tickets must be purchased in advance. We are currently not accepting cash or checks.
Tickets may be purchased online or by calling our box office at (603) 733-5275. Online sales will end at 7:20 p.m. for evening performances and 3:20 p.m. for matinees. Please note, there will be no walk-up ticket sales at this time, as our box office is remote.

No ticketing discounts will be available for the remainder of 2020. However, season tickets and gift certificates will still be honored.

We ask that when choosing your seats you select a block appropriate to the number of individuals in your party. Should you need assistance selecting your seats, please contact our box office at boxoffice@mdplayhouse.com or by calling (603) 733-5275.

Please be aware that the house will not open until 7:15 p.m., unless due to inclement weather. Masks are mandatory, to be worn at all times when in the building, except when seated for the performance.

We will not accommodate any late arrivals. Please arrive by 7:15 p.m. to provide ample time to be seated and to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.

If you have been in contact with anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or are experiencing symptoms, we kindly ask that you do not visit the Playhouse. If you have already purchased a ticket and are experiencing symptoms, we will gladly offer you a refund.

Share and Enjoy !

Call to Community

JUNE 3, 2020
Dear M&D Family,

Over the last three months, we have felt the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, yet we stand resolute in our commitment to assist members of our community wherever and however we can.

Now, with the recent uprisings in cities across the nation, we have been struggling with trying to find the right message. As an arts organization, do we stay silent and neutral during these pivotal moments in history? 

In the end, we feel that theatre, and the whole theatrical experience, stems from emotion. Our art, and our job as creators of theatre is to evoke emotion, and to use that emotion to tell a story. If we are not taking our collective emotions as artists and contributing to this storytelling process, we have failed as artists and humans.

We open our hearts and emphatically reject the evils of racism that have shaped the life chances of many in our nation for far too long To quote Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.” We stand in solidarity with those fighting for social justice, and issue this call to the community, because we can no longer afford to remain silent.

The recent deaths of George Floyd in Minnesota, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia remind us of the work that needs to be done to affirm the inherent worth and value of every member of our community. The repeated attacks on the well-being of people of color erode the bonds that are necessary to move our nation forward, together.

Simply put, all lives cannot matter until every person in our country is able to pursue their own personal journey without fear of harm simply because of the color of their skin, or where they live, or whom they love.

The successful pursuit of that future requires both conversation and dedicated action across the lines that traditionally divide us. We encourage residents of the Mt. Washington Valley to join this Call to Community by:

  • LISTENING to the concerns and fears of those whose experiences might be different than ours
  • LEARNING from what is happening across our nation and across our region to better confront our challenges in our own backyard.
  • LEVERAGING our talent and resources to amplify the voices and experience of those who are traditionally overlooked.
  • LEADING on issues of mutual concern and progress.
  • EDUCATING yourself and the people around you. Deepening your understanding of how racism affects us all by reading these anti-racism resources and having conversations with family and friends.

We hope you will join us in answering the Call to Community.

Sincerely,
M&D Board of Directors

Share and Enjoy !

A Note From Our AD & ED

MARCH 25, 2020
To our M&D Family:

It has certainly been quite a challenging few weeks. Our lives have been completely upended. At its heart, theatre is a collective experience. We are committed to finding new ways to strengthen our connections and community, even though we are unable to gather in the same physical space. Now more than ever, the power of theatre to heal is needed.

While the remainder of our 2020 season is still in flux, it’s nevertheless our 20th anniversary season, and there’s yet much to celebrate. As the current situation seems to change daily, we have to remain fluid in the decisions we make with the remainder of our season.

Over the next several weeks, we look forward to staying in touch with you regarding our season, and what the future will hold. In the meantime, we invite you to explore our web-site and social media platforms to share your favorite M&D experiences, revisit moments from M&D’s 20 years of bringing award-winning theatre to the valley, and connecting with fellow artists and theatre family members.

Theatre has endured for centuries because of its potential for transformation and reinvention. It enriches the lives of those who take an active part in it, as well as those in the community who benefit from live theatre productions. On either side of the footlights, those involved represent a diversity of age, culture, life experience, and a strong appreciation of the importance of the arts.

As we forge a path forward, your collaboration will be an integral part to the future of M&D.

Warmly,

Mark Sickler                   Deborah Jasien
Artistic Director              Executive Director

Share and Enjoy !

Precautions Against COVID-19

MARCH 11, 2020

Dear Patrons, 

With the ongoing public health concern regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), we wanted to inform you of the precautions we are taking during your visit with us.

To help keep the spread of germs low, we will be adhering to the following for the foreseeable future: 

  • Hand sanitizer will be available inside the Playhouse lobby, restrooms, and our bar.
  • All box office personnel, ushers, and bar volunteers will wear gloves, which shall be disposed of property at the end of each use. We encourage you to utilize paperless tickets through your smartphone and/or to print your tickets at home.
  • Though we usually request that you return your playbills so as to discourage waste, we ask that you either keep your playbill or throw it away after use.
  • Before and after each performance, we will disinfect seats and armrests in the Playhouse auditorium. We will also disinfect stair railings, door knobs and handles, bathroom surfaces, and lobby fixtures inside the building. 
  • We ask all patrons, as well as our volunteers, actors and production team members, to take the standard precautions, including frequent and thorough hand washing to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases like COVID-19. We encourage good hygiene practices such as covering your cough with your elbow or a tissue. Additional information on prevention measures can be found on the CDC website here

At present, we are happy to work with ticket holders who cannot attend or feel uncomfortable attending their designated performance. Upon request, we will offer ticket exchanges for a future performance during our current season that extends through December 2020. Please contact us via email at boxoffice2760@gmail.com.  

We thank all of our patrons and supporters for their understanding as we continue to take precautions and reevaluate this constantly changing situation. If you have specific concerns, please email info@mdplayhouse.com or call us at (603) 733-5275.

Share and Enjoy !

Ken Martin to receive the Francis Grover Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Award

JANUARY 17, 2020

We’re thrilled to share that the 2020 recipient of the Francis Grover Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Award is Ken Martin, co-founder of M&D Playhouse!

Ken was bitten by the theatre bug while attending Kennett High School (New Hampshire), landing the lead in GODSPELL under the kind direction of Roger Corriveau.

Since that time he has appeared on stages from California to Hawaii and across the state of New Hampshire. He has had the honor and privilege of working with the incredible Art Manke of Los Angeles, CA, the masterful David Johnston of Maui, HI, the brilliant Neil Pankhurst of Meredith, NH, the indomitable Kim Barber of Lincoln, NH, and the passionate Richard Russo and Dennis O’Neil of North Conway, to name a few. Ken has grown from a fearless young actor to become a producer and director in his own right, winning accolades and admirers for his vast body of work. A great believer in the mantra of the late great Van McLeod, “If you’re not on the edge, you are taking up too much space,” Ken has strived to keep the work at M&D profitable and edgy. He would like to think he has succeeded in this attempt to some degree, creating an environment which fosters the winning of over 25 NH Theatre Awards and the NETC Regional Award for Excellence in the American Theatre for this small community theatre in North Conway, NH.

Ken’s great love for the people in the theatre will probably drive him back to the stage at some point, but for now he will retire to the audience knowing he has made some small difference in his hometown, at least as it relates to theatre.

Join us in celebrating Ken’s accomplishments on Awards Night!

Share and Enjoy !

‘Constellations’ a poignant look at relationships in the multiverse

THEATER REVIEW

BY ALEC KERR
THE CONWAY DAILY SUN

The theory of the multiverse postulates that, what if, instead of one existence, there are an infinite number of universes with every possible permutation of reality all playing out simultaneously? Nick Payne’s play “Constellations” uses that concept to explore a series of interactions between two people in multiple different ways — some subtle, some completely divergent. Under the direction of Ken Martin, M&D at the Eastern Slope Inn Playhouse in North Conway is presenting “Constellations” Thursday through Sunday for the next two weeks. Roland (Joe Borsody) and Marianne (Christine Thompson) keep meeting and re-meeting as the play jumps between universes. The jump to different timelines is denoted by a whooshing sound effect and the flashing of the of the star like lights that are hanging both the bare stage. There’s no set dressing or furniture in Deb Jasien’s elegantly simple set design. There are the lights above and a mural of the galaxy painted on the stage below as if Roland and Marianne were floating between the various universes in which the scenes are playing out. Some scenes are as short as 30 seconds, while others go on for several minutes. In most cases, the dialogue is nearly identical, with a slight change that creates a divergency. Maybe Roland has a significant other and Marianne doesn’t or vice versa.

Joe Borsody and Christine Thompson star in M&D at the Eastern Slope Inn Playhouse production of “Constellations” which opened Thursday, Jan. 9. (LISA DUFAULT PHOTO)

In other examples, there’s no change in the language but it is emphasis on the words, the tone or inflection that changes. Other times, it becomes the distance between the actors that makes the difference. This is a fascinating exploration of how the slightest deviations in our interactions with our world can result in completely different outcomes. It is a reminder that not only is it the words that we choose but how we say them that impacts those around us. It is also an apt metaphor for theater itself. So much of theater is about how a scene is performed and staged. The smallest changes can transform an entire scene. The ways in which Borsody and Thompson choose to play the dialogue from scene to scene is able to transform it from playful banter in one instance to a bitterly barbed exchange in another. It is an acting challenge that Borsody and Thompson prove up to as they find subtle variations to add or subtract from their performances as they keep going over the same dialogue from different angles. In some universes, Marianne has a neurological disease that causes her to lose her words, which is beautifully, affectingly and authentically performed by Thompson. One scene plays out using sign language. These scenes even change how we understand the universe transitions. The flashing lights are meant to represent the constellations of the title, but also become like synapses fi ring in the brain. Some of the scenes could have benefited from more alterations, shadings or different levels, but that’s the beauty of this play: change is encouraged. Theater is an organic process. Each performance is supposed to replicate the last, but at the same time it is always growing and changing. No two performances will ever be the same. Perhaps more so than any other shows, “Constellations” is open to those variants over the run of a show. “Constellations” is a beautiful show that captures all the variations of life — from small to big from joy to pain — in an easily digestible 70-minute package. For more information or tickets, call (603) 733-5275 or go to mdplayhouse.com

Share and Enjoy !