Peninsula Players Theatre presents a reading of “A Fine Bright Day Today,” a new play by Philip Goulding, Monday, April 2 at 7 p.m. at Björklunden, located at 7590 Boynton Lane, Baileys Harbor. “A Fine Bright Day Today,” a warm and gently funny play about love, loss and second chances, is the final play reading of the series The Play’s the Thing. Admission is free, general seating available.
Margaret lost her trawlerman husband 30 years ago and has become increasingly set in her ways, dependent on obsessive rituals and superstition. Milton is a bear-like American artist who visits her quiet English seaside town to paint its breathtaking coastline.
When Rebecca, Margaret’s daughter, moves in with her boyfriend, she invites Milton to lodge with her mother during his stay. There’s something about the genial, weather-beaten interloper that intrigues Margaret, despite the fact he drips all over her carpet. Over several weeks of shared meals, stories and bottles of cheap wine, an unexpected bond slowly draws them together.
“It’s one of those instances when I sit down with a play that comes across my desk and, not only do I finish reading it in one sitting, but am so moved when I’m done that I immediately feel that I want to share this story with our audience,” Vinkler said. “It spoke to me and I think it will speak to many who come hear it. Love at any time is good, but especially sweet when it comes late in life.”
Vinkler will perform and direct the reading. His co-performers include Penny Slusher as Margaret and Amy Ensign as Rebecca. Slusher and Vinkler performed in the reading and stage production of audience favorite “Chapatti” and Ensign recently performed in Peninsula Players’ stage production of “Almost, Maine.”
Ensign is a Door County resident, managing director of Door Shakespeare and a frequent actor in Peninsula Players’ winter play-reading series. She has performed with several Door County theater groups, notably as Effy in Northern Sky Theater’s production of “The Spitfire Grill”, Theatre M’s “A Bed Among the Lentils,” Teatro Caravaggio’s “The Belle of Amherst,” Third Avenue Playhouse’s productions of “Steel Magnolias,” “The House of Blue Leaves” and “Shirley Valentine.” She has spent six seasons with Door Shakespeare and is the Drama Director at Sevastopol School.
Slusher last appeared at Peninsula Players in “Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime,” “The Hollow” and “Chapatti.” Her Chicago stage credits include: “By The Water,” “You Can’t Take It With You,” “Sense And Sensibility” and “A Life” at Northlight Theatre; “Uncle Vanya” (After Dark Award), “Another Part of the Forest“ (Jeff Award), and “The Subject Was Roses” at Writers Theatre. Her regional credits include “My Fair Lady” at Asolo Repertory Theatre and “Sense and Sensibility” at Actors Theatre of Louisville and St. Louis Repertory Theatre. Internationally she has appeared in “Chapatti” and “Stella And Lou” at The Galway (Ireland) International Arts Festival, (Northlight Theatre) and in “August: Osage County” with Steppenwolf Theatre at Sydney Theatre, (Australia).
Vinkler has directed and performed in previous play readings as well as in 49 Peninsula Players’ productions including “The Actuary,” “Chapatti,” “Alabama Story,” “A Real Lulu,” “Butler,” “Opus” and “The Game’s Afoot.” He has directed 30 productions for Peninsula Players and has received three Joseph Jefferson Awards (12 total nominations), two Artisan Awards and the inaugural Door County Artist of the Year Award.
Goulding is a British playwright and an accomplished writer whose credits include more than 30 plays, a mix of screen and radio plays, original and adapted stage works, musicals and operas as well as poetry. His original stage works include “Beneath the Waves,” “Then He Kissed Me,” “Heading West,” “Wake Up Little Suzie!” and “Our Gracie.” He has done adaptations of Thomas Hardy’s novel “The Mayor of Casterbridge;” Nikolai Gogol’s classic comedy “The Government Inspector;” and youth classics such as “Alice in Wonderland,” “Beauty & the Beast” and “Toad of Toad Hall.”
Goulding’s play “Strange Lands” won the first prize in 2002 at the International Theatre Institute Playwriting Competition, a biennial competition to encourage the writing of plays around a central theme. In 2002, the subject was the need for peaceful coexistence between peoples.
Goulding has collaborated with composer Alan Edward Williams on several projects including “12 Storeys High,” a song cycle for soprano and solo piano; the award-winning choral song sequence “Divers Winged Creatures;” “Wonder: a Scientific Oratorio,” presented by (BBC Philharmonic/BBC Singers/Salford Choral Society); and the opera “Stefan and Lotte in Paradise.”
His poetry can be found in various anthologies including “Outposts,” and “Faber’s Hard Lines 3.” His radio plays include “A Fat Man Eats The Moon” (1994) and “The Dilemma” (1995), which were broadcast on RTE (Dublin), and “Unexpected Vonnegut,” an adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s short story “Who Am I This Time?,” which was broadcast on BBC Radio 4. His screenplay “Keeper” was seen on the BBC (1990) and he co-wrote the BBC documentary “Deadliest Crash: The Le Mans 1955 Disaster.”
The Play’s the Thing series is funded in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin, as well as a generous grant from the Door County Medical Center and Friends of Door County Libraries as well as operating funds from Peninsula Players Theatre.
Peninsula Players Theatre is America’s Oldest Professional Resident Summer Theatre. The Play’s the Thing is part of the Players’ continuing winter outreach programming, presenting professional play readings for the public.
The Peninsula Players 2018 five-show season runs June 12 through October 14. Learn more about Peninsula Players at www.peninsulaplayers.com.