New Classics Theatre is presenting a revival of Edmonds playwright Jeff Stilwell’s dramatic comedy about the distance between the hearth and the tool shed, “Granny Knot,” opening Jan. 14 for nine performances at New Space Theatre in Shoreline.
In this comedy the audience finds Dad hunkered down in his tool shed on the evening of his retirement party, with Mom and daughters Clarissa, Tiffany and Baby struggling to figure out why. Stilwell’s script invites the audience to solve the puzzle with the characters in this affirming tale of the strength of family, particularly in ways that are least expected.
“Granny Knot” marks the first revival of a Stilwell play. Stilwell’s scripts have been well received by critics, including The Enterprise’s theater reviewer Dale Burrows, who judged Stilwell’s “One Tile Short” as “an uninterrupted, 90-minute power pack with something to say and a super-charged cast of four saying it,” while The Daily Herald in Everett pronounced “Penny Upstart and the Widget War” as having “Clever dialogue and quips [that] showcase Stilwell’s talent for comedic writing…” The Driftwood Players production of “Traffic Stop” also garnered two awards at the Kaleidoscope competition in 2007.
“It’s quite humbling to see a revival this early in my career,” Stilwell said. “I can only thank all those who love seeing new works mounted on the Northwest stage. I owe this all to them.”
“The cast is excellent,” said show producer Carissa Meisner Smit. “My favorite moment in rehearsal came when Jeff cried out, ‘You’re making me laugh and cry at the same time! I don’t know which way to go!’”
“Granny Knot” features a cast of Northwest stage actors, including Carissa Meisner Smit as Clarissa, Machelle Allman as Tiffany, Robin Stahan as Baby, Eileen McCann as Mom, Karl Holzheimer as Dad, and Jon Loina as The Scoutmaster.
Damian Amrhein contributed technical design to the production which also features costume designs by Manya Vee. “Granny Knot” marks the second collaboration of this creative team, who last combined their efforts in Stilwell’s critically and financially successful dramatic comedy, “One Tile Short,” staged last July.
“Much of the play’s enthralling beauty is caught in their designs contrasting the two worlds of this family,” Stilwell said. “Rich, warm tones of love in the hearth and the cool austerity of the tool shed. We are lucky to have them both on this show.”
Theatregoers can get a behind-the-scenes look at the production via the theatre company’s website, newclassicstheatre.org, where visitors can meet the cast, read “Becky Backstage’s” interviews with the playwright and cast, and read the script.