The NoneSuch Playmakers are back, with an original play — “Stop the Press,” a comedy written and directed by Brack Llewellyn — on stage this weekend at the L.H. Jones Auditorium at Jones Family Resource Center.
The production will be on stage on Saturday at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. with tickets $5 per person, available at the door or from any cast member prior to the show.
The play was written by Llewellyn in 2008, and it was one that he said “came out of the friendships and relationships with people in the newspaper business” he got to know over the years, including personal contacts, reporters, editors and advertising reps.
“I listened to some of the stories they would tell about the various newspapers they worked for, and I realized this would make a great comedy, so I picked up bits and pieces from the people I'd known over the past 30 years in newspapers from this region and incorporated the characters into the play,” Llewellyn shared.
Llewellyn said the “quick and funny” style for “Stop the Press” was somewhat influenced by the television show “The West Wing” and its “very quick, very witty” style. “The characters on that show talk like you wish people actually talked, which I love.”
The humor in the play comes from all the different personalities found in the small-town newspaper office, Llewellyn shared.
“'Stop the Press' is kind of a cross-section of people I've known in the newspaper business; they have quirks, but deep down they are good people who work hard and get it right every chance they get.”
Llewellyn said the cast of characters includes a sports editor “who has a bit of a liquid lifestyle, but is deep down a good guy, and a good writer;” a young salesman who is a sales force of one for the small newspaper, who “means well but desperately wants to be a reporter;” an office manager who is “very young, and very new and caught up in the glamour of working for even a small newspaper;” a seasoned reporter who has “seen it all, done it all, but still loves a good story when she can find one;” and an editor who once worked at a larger newspaper, but “decided to strike out on her own, and find her own path.”
“It's the story of a struggling newspaper and its staff, which every newspaper can identify with these days,” Llewellyn said. “They are a family, and you can tell that from the beginning, the way they talk and playfully go at one another.”
Llewellyn said he has written nearly three dozen one-act plays and around a dozen full-length plays. He said enjoys writing for NoneSuch Playmakers and also writes for his wife Angela Llewellyn's teen theater group at the library, The Dewey Decimal Players.
NoneSuch Playmakers typically perform around three to four plays per year, but this year the group is performing six plays. “It's a pretty ambitious season,” Llewellyn said. “We love having the stage at L.H. Jones Auditorium, which gives us a home stage to play on. We also do quite a bit of work with Olde Mill Resort in Virginia, plus storytelling gigs and a musical revue.”
“Stop the Press” is suitable for ages 12 and up, and runs about 90 minutes in length, with two acts on the stage of the L.H. Jones Auditorium.
The “Stop the Press” cast and crew includes: Leslie Nicole Watts, Angela Llewellyn, Rachel Miller, Jane Tucker, Jonathan Jones, Jake Pack, Angela Bryant and Jessica Llewellyn as well as Todd Jessup, Olivia Jessup, B.J. Boyd and Brack Llewellyn.
Reach Jessica Johnson at 719-1933 and on Twitter @MountAiryJess.