Bringing the story from page to stage
First it was a book, written by local award-winning author Yvonne David in 2005. It won an honorable mention in the Independent Publisher Book Awards a year after publication, and was then adapted for the stage in the form of a concert reading by award-winning playwright Ellen W. Kaplan and performed in New York City at the Mesaper Theatre. Last March, David brought her concert reading to Orlando, and now David has reached her goal of producing “Out of the Apple Orchard” as a play.
“While the commendable Director Kerry Giese and Assistant Director Amanda Giese brought the words on the page to life, myself, playwright Ellen Kaplan and Tony award-winning producer and director Kenny Howard will bring the story to fruition from page to stage,” stated David.
Opening night of “Out of the Apple Orchard” will be Monday, Dec. 19 at the Orlando Repertory Theatre, and run through Dec. 22 for a total of five performances.
“Apple Orchard” was inspired by “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, one of David’s favorite authors. Both stories bring attention to the poor.
Just a few months before he passed, David and her father took a trip to Canterbury, Kent, in England and visited Dickens’ summer home in Broadstairs. David stood in his writing room and touched his desk.
“As I placed my hands on the desk where Dickens penned famous novels, I prayed that I could have some of his creativity and hard work dedication,” she said.
“There is yet another connection to ‘A Christmas Carol’ that brings tears to my eyes,” stated David. “My dear friend, consultant and acclaimed set director, Tommy Mangieri, tragically passed away from brain cancer. I am dedicating the Orlando premiere in his memory.”
With inspiration from her father, mother, sister (who did the illustrations in the book), and her son, “Apple Orchard” is truly a family creation.
“My family connections underscore the importance of family coming together over the holidays,” David shared.
As the Chanukah and Christmas season approaches, invariably families become harried with so much to get done: shopping for gifts, preparing delicious meals, planning parties. Sometimes it is just nice to take a moment, take an evening off and see a play that will return your heart and thoughts to what family is really all about.
“While the historical fiction story contains a lesson about making up for any wrongdoings,” David explained, “the tale about a Jewish family also shows how forgiveness and healing lead to greater joy by bringing divided people, families and friends together, leading to a more meaningful holiday season.”
“Apple Orchard,” set in 1910, is a story about a Jewish immigrant family who move to a hamlet in the Catskills. Food is scarce, so on his way to school, 12-year-old Adam steals some apples from a farmer’s apple orchard. From here an intriguing story unfolds with lessons in forgiveness and the opportunity for new beginnings.
Net proceeds of the Orlando premiere will benefit Jewish Family Services Orlando and St. Vincent de Paul Society. By supporting these nondenominational organizations, David hopes to make the public aware of the severity of food insecurity. In addition, proceeds will also benefit the counseling programs offered by JFS Orlando and St. Vincent de Paul Society, which have helped first responders, victims, their families and friends suffering from the tragedies in Orlando earlier this year.
“Out of the Apple Orchard” is a Fractured Atlas fiscally sponsored project. The Premiere performance is Monday, Dec. 19, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are adults, $30; children, $20; and includes premium drawings, talkback and meet and greet.
Further performances are Tuesday, Dec. 20, at 7:30 p.m .; Wednesday, Dec. 21, at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m .; and Thursday, Dec. 22, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are adults, $20; students/seniors, $18; and children, $14. There also is a special group offer for children.
All performances will be held at the Orlando Repertory Theatre, 1001 E. Princeton Street, Orlando.
For more information or to reserve tickets, visit http://www.appletreeseries.com or call 407-437-4909.