On Saturday November 5, the Middletown-based Vintage Players presents a staged reading of "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been", the 1972 play by Eric Bentley. The performance is at 7:30 p.m. and will take place in the Green Street Arts Center, Green St in Middletown. Sister Marwa Aly, the Muslim Chaplain at Wesleyan University, will present a Pre-performance Talk at 7 p.m.
Bentley's play is based on the transcripts of the hearings held by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) from 1947-58. The committee focused its investigations on real and suspected communists in positions of actual or supposed influence in the United States society. Actors, screenwriters and producers, many from Hollywood, testified before HUAC and a good number had their careers either ruined or put on hold for several decades. Many have heard or read about "The Hollywood Ten" but, by the time the hearings ran their course, over 300 people were boycotted by the studios.
During the course of the reading, the audience will hear the words of writers Abe Burrows and Lillian Hellman, actors Larry Parks, Sterling Hayden and vocalist, actor, and civil rights activist Paul Robeson (among others.)
Director Carolyn Kirsch rediscovered the play during the midst of New York Representative Peter King's "Muslim Hearings" in the Congressional House of Representatives this past March. The eloquent testimony of Minnesota Democratic Representative Keith Ellison, the first Muslim-American ever elected to the House, spurred Kirsch to look into presenting this reading. The cast includes Peter Sipples, Carlton Winslow, Charlie Rich, Richard Kamins, Nat Holmes, VijayPinch, Rick Nelson, Myron Gubitz, Pat Murray and Terri Klein with the offstage assistance of Cora Rodenhizer, Naomi Kamins, Peggy Welsh, Marian Katz and Producer Jane McMillan.
Suggested donation is $5.00. For more information about the play, call Jane McMillan at 860-346-1377 or Richard Kamins at 860-632-1067 - for reservations, call the Green Street Arts Center at 860-685-7871.