by Robert Chesley
A VARIANT STRAIN
by Jonathan Adler and Jim Petosa
Directed by Jim Petosa
1) The process by which genetic information is transferred.
2) The process by which oral stories are recorded.
This pairing of two plays juxtaposes stories of gay men across two pandemics, placing a rarely-performed work from the AIDS era in the United States (DOG PLAYS) alongside a new story for the COVID era (A VARIANT STRAIN). Based on interviews about gay men’s lived experiences of AIDS and COVID, the dialogue between these stories reveals new possibilities for understanding and healing across generations.
Reverse Transcription was supported in part by a grant from the Sketch Model Summer Studio at Olin College of Engineering with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
James Patrick Nelson just appeared in Broadway’s Slave Play at the Mark Taper Forum. Recent regional credits include The Human Voice (Bay Street Theatre), Immortal Longings (Zach Theatre – World Premiere by Terrence McNally), Bedlam’s Pygmalion (Central Square Theatre), and Bedlam’s Sense and Sensibility (American Repertory Theatre, Folger Theatre – Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Ensemble). Off-Broadway credits include The Three Sisters with Maggie Gyllenhaal, A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Bebe Neuwirth, and Ivanov with Ethan Hawke (CSC). Additional credits: Old Familiar Faces (Innovative Theatre Nomination – Best Actor), Rutherford and Son (Mint Theatre), Pericles (Berkeley Rep), The Maids (Outliers Theatre), Life x 3 (New Light Theatre Project), Romeo and Juliet, All’s Well That Ends Well, and The Knight of the Burning Pestle (American Shakespeare Center). James created the short film “Waking Up,” which premiered at the Santa Barbara Int’l Film Festival, and streams now on Dekkoo. He stars in several upcoming indie films, and he wrote, produced, and stars in the upcoming dramedy series “For Years to Come” with Richard Riehle. www.james-patrick-nelson.com IG: @jamespatricknelson
Joshua Mallin is an actor from Philadelphia making his PTP debut. He is grateful to return to his Middlebury College family and holds an MFA from the Columbia University School of the Arts where his credits included Middletown, A Streetcar Named Desire, Into the Zone, The Thugs, The Cherry Orchard and Wedding Band. He also performed in dreamer examines his pillow at 13th Street Repertory Theatre (NYC). During the pandemic he performed in, Bluefish, a zoom collaboration with actors from around the globe. Thanks to mom & dad.
Jonathan Tindle – PTP/NYC: Via Dolorosa, The Possibilities, Arcadia, Pity in History, No End of Blame, Scenes From an Execution, Pentecost. NYC: The Bacchae 2.1 (Flea); Roger&Tom (HERE); Not all Korean Girls Can Fly (EST); Welcome to Our City (Mint); Maud: The Madness (PTE, NYIT award nominee); Regional: Some Brighter Distance (world premier, City Theatre, Pittsburgh); The Swan (Helen Hayes award nominee, Round House); Three Sisters, Bed Among The Lentils (Helen Hayes nominee, Studio Theatre); The Pavilion (Merrimack Rep); Mrs. Warren’s Profession (Helen Hayes nominee, WSG); FILM: Delenda (Best Supporting Actor, Chelsea Film Festival), Full-Moon Fables (SAG Peer award), Dovid Meyer, The Hunley, The Day Lincoln Was Shot. TV: “The Blacklist,” “Happy!,” “The Tick,” “Dietland,” “Person of Interest,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Law & Order,” “All My Children”
Trey Atkins is a Chemistry major at Middlebury College. Hailing from Watertown, Connecticut, his Middlebury theatre credits include Ophelia Underwater (H). He is beyond grateful for this exciting opportunity, and he hopes you enjoy the show.
Francis Price is a graduate from Middlebury College with a degree in Theatre and English. Francis is incredibly excited to be returning for his second season with PTP. Middlebury credits include The First Year Show, She Kills Monsters (Miles), Dinner With Friends (Tom), and Botticelli in the Fire (Savonarola), as well as the 2021 season of PTP/NYC Standing on the Edge of Time. Huge thanks to the company for this exciting opportunity, and endless appreciation to his fellow cast mates.
Ryan Kirby is a recent Middlebury College graduate with a focus in directing from Waco, Texas. His directing credits include Happy, Gidion’s Knot, This Is Our Youth, and most recently, Botticelli in the Fire. Recent acting credits include The Baltimore Waltz (The Third Man) and A Streetcar Named Desire (Mitch). After the summer, Ryan will continue to work as part of the executive team for a start-up theatre company in Waco called Silent House Theatre Co.
Playwright, Composer, Author, Activist. B.A. in Music, Reed College, Portland, Oregon. Robert Chesley is best remembered as a playwright, though he was also an author, critic, and composer. He was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, and taught in private schools in upstate New York for nearly ten years before settling in New York City in 1976. He relocated to San Francisco in the early 1980s where he became a part of the gay theater scene. Chesley composed during the ten-year period 1965 to 1975 and his compositions were almost exclusively for voice. Between 1966 and 1970 he composed 53 songs, mostly to texts by American poets including Emily Dickinson, Willa Cather, and James Agee, and including sixteen settings of the British poet Walter de la Mare. There are also several choral works from the 1970s, with texts by Gertrude Stein and Walt Whitman among others. His few instrumental works include the score to a 1972 film by Erich Kollmar, the “Sonata for Guitar and Harpsichord” (1974), and the “Little Concerto for Two Flutes and String Orchestra” (1968), which was revived in 1991 in a Benson Series concert of Downtown Music Productions, conducted by Mimi Stern-Wolfe. The transformation of Robert Chesley, composer, to Robert Chesley, playwright, roughly coincided with his move to San Francisco. In 1984 the city’s Theatre Rhinoceros produced his first one act, HELL, I LOVE YOU and in 1984 Chesley’s NIGHT SWEAT became the first produced full-length play to deal with AIDS. In all, Chesley wrote ten full-length and twenty-one one-act plays. Several works were premiered posthumously, and all of his major plays have been published. Robert Chesley died of AIDS in San Francisco at the age of 47 on December 5, 1990.
Jonathan Adler (he/him) is a Professor of Psychology at Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Massachusetts. He is also a Visiting Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Editor in Chief of the academic journal Personality and Social Psychology Review, and Chief Academic Officer of Health Story Collaborative, a non-profit organization dedicated to centering personal narrative in the medical ecosystem. Jonathan’s research focuses on the dynamic relationship between identity development in adulthood and mental health. Jonathan has directed/co-directed numerous plays in academic settings. Favorites include: The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow (Babson College), Our Town (Olin College of Engineering), Assassins (Northwestern University), Julius Caesar (Harvard University), and The Day I Stood Still (Bates College). He has written one prior play, Resurfacing, with Annie Brewster and Anna Bess Moyer Bell. Jonathan would like to thank Olin’s Sketch Model initiative (funded by the Mellon Foundation) for planting the seed of this project, as well as his husband and their two kids. Collaborating with Jim on this project has been a highlight of his career. https://www.jonathan-adler.com/
Jim Petosa is Professor Emeritus with Boston University’s College of Fine Arts. He served as a professor and as director of the BU School of Theatre from 2002 – 2018. He also served as artistic director of the Boston region’s New Repertory Theatre from 2012 – 2018. Petosa has directed Tom Stoppard and André Previn’s Every Good Boy Deserves Favour at NYC’s Town Hall and the operas Carmen (Peter Brook adaptation) and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat among others. PTP/NYC credits include Monster, Spatter Pattern, A Question of Mercy, Therese Raquin, Somewhere in the Pacific, Marisol, Dog Plays, Statements After an Arrest, Good, Brecht on Brecht, among others. He also served as Artistic Director for the Olney Theatre Center, where directing credits include Democracy, Racing Demon, Brooklyn Boy, Copenhagen, The Laramie Project, Art, The Miracle Worker, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (won a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Musical Production), Theatre J’s Collected Stories (received a Helen Hayes nomination for Outstanding Direction), and Look! We Have Come Through! (Charles MacArthur New Play nomination, Co-created with Carole Graham Lehan). A member of the Actor’s Equity Association and the Society of Directors and Choreographers, and the Becket Arts Center Board, he teaches acting and directs for the Boston University Opera Institute.
Mark Evancho has designed scenery, lights, and projections for PTP/ NYC for 25 years in Maryland and in New York. Over the years Mark has designed for the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, Olney Theatre Center in MD, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival and the Bucks County Playhouse in PA. In the New England area, Mark has designed for the Vermont Stage Company, Lyric Theatre Company, and Lost Nation Theatre Company in Vermont, and broadcast designing for YNC/ Yankee Communications Network in New Hampshire. Mark teaches design at Middlebury College.
Courtney Smith is a scenic, media designer, and technician for live performance. He is currently the Production Designer for the Department of Theatre at Middlebury College. Courtney’s designs have received several Meritorious Achievement Awards from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. Additionally, his work received a “Distinguished Achievement Award in Scenic Design” from the Kennedy Center in Washington DC.
Credits include Potomac Theatre Project (NY), Warren Miller Performing Arts Center (MT), Southwark Playhouse (UK), The Bushwick Starr (NY), Roundabout Theatre Company (NY), New York City Opera (NY), Playwrights Horizons (NY), Classic Stage Company (NY), Cedar Lake Dance (NY), Marvel Repertory Theatre (NY), Mount Baker Repertory Theatre (WA), Montana Shakespeare in the Parks (MT), Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre (ID), and Idaho Repertory Theatre (ID).
Courtney is a member of United States Institute of Theatre Technology (USITT) and received his MFA in scenic design from the University of Idaho.
A professional patternmaker/draper, Carol Wood has been teaching costume cutting and construction through her custom costume business and at design schools in California and Vermont. She is known for recreating, wearing, and writing about historical garments. For the past two decades, her work has been honored with awards, shown in galleries, worn to period events, appeared on the stage, and escorted down the wedding aisle. Carol also worked as an assistant cutter in San Francisco Opera’s Costume Shop and is currently Costume Shop Director in Middlebury College’s Department of Theatre. Her motto: Cinch it tighter!
Sean Doyle is a recent graduate of Boston University with a Masters of Fine Arts in Sound Designs. Mr. Doyle, a Washington, DC native, is a Boston based Sound Designer, and Audio Engineer. His designs have been heard at New Harmony Rep, Fresno State, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Boston Playwrights Theatre, and The American Century Theatre. He is currently the sound supervisor for the Barrington Stage Company.
Abbey Murray is a recent graduate from Western Connecticut State University with a BA in Stage Management and Design Technology. She has been stage managing for almost a decade and is so excited to be a part of PTP this summer! Her recent credits include Hamilton: Angelica Tour (Covid Safety Manager), SWEAT (PSM), Hand to God (PSM), and Into The Woods In Concert (ASM). Abbey would like to thank those closest to her for their undying support and love, and hopes everyone enjoys the show!
Becca Ferrante is a Senior at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, CT. This is her first season with PTP/NYC and is super excited. She is a Theater Arts Management and Theater Performance Major from Norwalk, Connecticut. Some of her past WCSU credits include The 1940’s Radio Hour (Assistant Stage Manager), The Who’s TOMMY (Assistant Stage Manager), and The Radium Girls: A Jaw Dropping New Musical (Production Stage Manager).
Originally from Shanghai, China, Qinyi Hua is a double major in Theatre and Art History at Middlebury College. This is Qinyi’s first season with PTP/NYC and she is thrilled to work with this talented group. Middlebury credits include: Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play (assistant stage manager), Dinner with Friends (sound design), The Orphan Muses (sound board operator), the 2021 Annual First Year Show (sound board operator).
David Gibbs (he/him) is the founder of DARR Publicity, a boutique entertainment press agency specializing in theater, dance, film, music and unique theatrical experiences. Clients include The Amoralists, Company XIV, FIAF, Ice Factory Festival, La MaMa, Molière in the Park, New Ohio Theatre, NYC Indie Theatre Film Festival, Pig Iron and PTP/NYC. David has publicized shows at many Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway venues throughout NYC. His clients have won Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Obie and Off Broadway Alliance Awards.
◊ member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society
º member of United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829