‘Summer’ to open Feb. 6

By Michelle Nosratian

The upper school winter play, “Summer Brave,” delves deep into the psychology into human relationships, chronicling the interactions between residents of a small Kansas town in the 1950s.

A revision of William Inge’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Picnic,” “Summer Brave” focuses on the effects of an attractive young stranger, played by Cody Davis ’09, upon the residents of the rural town.

His arrival sets off a chain of events that spice up the present, and prompt residents to reflect on the past and contemplate the future. The play is billed as a romantic comedy.

“It blends both humorous and tragic elements in which lessons are learned about growing up and in some cases learning to accept what fate sometimes imposes,” the show’s producer and director Christopher Moore said.

The play’s title characters include a pair of sisters, one beautiful, played by Ellie Bensinger ’09, and one intelligent, played by Rachel Katz ’11, who find their lives changed with the entrance of the mysterious young stranger into their lives.

“I think the play is really about the women in the play whose lives are affected by a man,” Bensinger said.”

Inge admits that although “Picnic” was written first, “Summer Brave” fulfills his original intentions for the play. A relatively obscure play, it didn’t enjoy the same degree of success as its predecessor on Broadway.

“‘Summer Brave’ is rarely produced and I thought it would be interesting to present the version of the play that the author felt was the better work,” Moore said. “We thought ‘Summer Brave’ was a strong choice to expose our students and our audiences to Mr. Inge’s tremendous storytelling talents.”

Whereas the make-believe characters of “Into the Woods” explored issues of morality through the retelling of well-known fairy tales, “Summer Brave” has characters that are more realistic and that people can relate to.

Students auditioning were required to read the play and prepare an audition from the materials provided in early October.

The play opens Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. and runs Feb. 7 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 8 at 4 p.m.