What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Historic home in Durham sets the stage for al fresco play

Posted May 16

Bartlett Theater's most recent production takes place at the Historic James Addison Riley House. Credit: Facebook

— A local theater company will perform its first outdoor production this weekend on the grounds of a historic Durham home.

Emily Rieder, who plays Masha, a moody, depressive character and one of many interesting personalities in the Bartlett Theater company's adaptation of The Seagull, said even all rehearsals have been outside.

The play is based on a classic novel by Anton Chekhov, who wrote the story to take place on his own lush, sprawling, country estate. For Bartlett's rendition, the historic James Addison Riley House in Durham, located near the Eno River State Park, makes the perfect outdoor setting.

The Durham home perfectly mirrors the estate where the play takes place, Rieder said. The production is staged at various locations throughout the property, and the audience will travel with the company of actors as the story unfolds.

Rieder also shared that, while some of the elements of the outdoor stage have felt odd for the cast and crew, she has appreciated the challenge.

The Seagull

"As an actor, the (setting) transports you," she said. "This is what I am most looking forward to for audiences, that they will be transported by their surroundings. They will be immersed in the world of the play, and they will be that much more connected to the characters. They will be experiencing the same surroundings and same surprises as the characters."

Part-comedy, part-drama, The Seagull follows Masha and other characters over the course of several years as they stumble through their mundane lives in the hope of achieving something extraordinary. Rieder said everyone should be able to relate to the story.

"The Seagull" runs at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and continues May 27-29 outside the historic James Addison Riley House in Durham. Chairs, blankets and picnics are welcome.

Tickets can be purchased online. All ticket holders will be contacted by 2 p.m. on the day of the performance if the production has to be rescheduled (for June 3-4) due to rain.

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