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Bringing “Inspector” to AFD realizes a lifelong dream for director Mary Fitzpatrick

When the curtain rises at AFD on November 11, anticipate a production that people are already calling “magical.” Credit may be due to the fact that the team behind it contains a lot of Friends–old and new–uniting behind a play that has a lot of meaning, a lot of suspense, and a lot of opportunity to exercise stage craft.

Bringing “An Inspector Calls” to life at AFD is the realization of a lifelong dream for the director, Mary Mark Fitzpatrick. “When I read it in college, it literally changed my life,” she says. “It illuminates everything about the consequences of our behavior and actions.” She’d seen it several times over the years, including the production at Concord Players in 1997, directed by her husband at the time, the late Denis Fitzpatrick.

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Director Mary Fitzpatrick constantly finds new depth and intrigue in the script for “An Inspector Calls.”

When the Play Reading Committee put out the call for directors to nominate plays they want to stage, Fitzpatrick jumped at the chance to put in a bid for “Inspector.” When it was confirmed that AFD would mount the play, she booked a flight to London to catch the revival on the West End, where it’s been running since 1992. “I had a ticket for the matinee,” she says, “And it was so good, so compelling, that as soon as it was over, I went to the box office and bought a ticket for that same evening.”

She watched the play from fourth row center, and then from the balcony, finding new insight from each perspective. “It was just riveting, a wonderful production.”

And she enjoyed the culture of theater in London, where “Inspector” is a classic, a standard taught in school in the same way “Our Town” is taught in the U.S. “Like we talk about the Red Sox here, they talk about theater. Everyone around me had strong opinions about the production – even the hotel clerk.”

Fitzpatrick has a clear passion for the play. “The writing is so good, it keeps my interest every time, even when we’re blocking. It’s unique in that it’s an important play, with a clear message, but it’s also a mystery, and it’s very suspenseful. You really don’t know what’s going to happen – I call it a mystery with meaning. You know, we see so much violence and mayhem on TV, and it’s all meaningless. But this has a message, which makes it so much better.”

The production manager, Ginger Webb, concurs, “You don’t know what’s going to happen; you’re entertained the whole time.”

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Iain Bason as the patriarch of the jolly/prosperous/creepy Birling family.

Fitzpatrick brought the excitement back to AFD, where she recruited a “dream team”—and they’re feeling the buzz of chemistry strengthened by a great script. “It’s been so exciting,” says Fitzpatrick. “Just the way you want a show to go. Everyone is terrific, and they’ve been working together as a team so effectively.”

AN INSPECTOR CALLS by J.B. Priestley

Director: Mary Mark Fitzpatrick
Production Manager: Ginger Webb
Stage Manager: Clare Pitkin Livak
Set Design: Ruth Neeman
Set Tech: Mark Bastoni
Costume Design: Linda Burtt
Lighting Design: Greg Mancusi-Ungaro
Projection Design: Michael Patterson
Prop Design & Set Dressing: Charlotte Kelley
Sound Design: Jason Victor Rosenman
Makeup Design: Dorothy Santos
Wig Design: Marc Capizzi
Publicity: Mary Babic
Photography: Leslie Maiocco
Original Music: Valerie Forgione

Cast: Iain Bason (Arthur Birling), Randy L-H (Gerald Croft), Katie Flanagan (Sheila Birling), Teri Muller (Sybil Birling), Annie Hewitt (Edna), Alex Langham (Eric Birling), Fred Robbins (Inspector Goole)

Performance Schedule:

November 11 @ 8pm (with champagne reception)
November 12 @ 8pm
November 13 @ 4pm (with talkback)
November 18 @ 8pm
November 19 @ 8pm
November 20 @ 4pm

Tickets on sale now! $20
http://www.ticketstage.com/T/AFD
http://www.afdtheatre.org/

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