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"Bedroom Farce" Demystifies Marriage

Mark Shanahan is a member of Westport Playhouse's select circle of "go to" actors who seem to instantly come to mind when the Playhouse is casting. His past performances there have included Phileas Fogg in "Around the World in 80 Days," the lead in June's production of "Butterflies are Free,"  "Tryst," "Sedition," "Journey's End" and "David Copperfield." Luckily, he's been recruited for October 4th's reading of British playwright Alan Ayckbourn's comedy, "Bedroom Farce."

“The possibility of getting this group of actors, who have delighted our audiences so often with their rendering of Alan Ayckbourn’s whacky characters, was just too delicious to pass up,” says Anne Keefe, Playhouse artistic advisor. Other performers who've signed on for the reading include Geneva Carr, Carson Elrod, Cecilia Hart, Karen Walsh, James Waterston and Paxton Whitehead.

When "Bedroom Farce" opened in 1975, Ayckbourn had four plays running in London's West End. Nevertheless, critics were happy to make room for another. "Bedroom Farce's" reveiws were glowing. "The Guardian" called it "stylish and witty." "The funniest yet" and "one long riot," The Northern Echo critic reported. This deconstruction of marriage was Ayckbourn's 19th play, a number that his website now reports has climbed to more than 300. In between his prolific playwriting, Ayckbourn also seems to have time to run his own acting company at the National Theatre, and to take on a few parts.

Westport Playhouse's reading of "Bedroom Farce" brings this talented playwright to those who haven't met his work yet. For established fans, too, it will demonstrate how, even without sets and costumes, a clever play and a talented cast can combust. The reading begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15. For more information, visit Westport Playhouse's website .

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