Dividing the Estate
by Horton Foote
Directed by Brian Hansen
“The production is excellent…[d]elightful presentation of the always satisfying Horton Foote.” Read the rest of Rob Spiegel’s Talkin’ Broadway review.
The Adobe Theater will present American playwright Horton Foote’s play Dividing The Estate April 29th through May 22nd, 2016. First staged in 2007, Dividing The Estate was awarded the 2008 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play, and the 2008 Obie Award for Playwriting.
Set in 1987 Texas, Dividing The Estate follows the fate and fortune of the “land rich and cash poor” Gordon family. The elderly matriarch of the family, Stella, is stubbornly intent on keeping the estate intact while she lives, but her children Mary Jo, Lewis, and Lucille are all strapped for cash and want to split things up immediately. Old wounds and resentments, always close to the surface, erupt anew as the Gordon siblings argue, accuse, wheedle, and blame each other, their mother, and the economy for their own shortcomings and failures.
Director Brian Hansen readily admits to a lingering case of “Horton Foote Disease.” He became infected four years ago when he directed a production of Foote’s The Trip to Bountiful at The Adobe Theater. The production was both demanding and well-received; but most of all it introduced him to the world of a largely-ignored playwright, Horton Foote. Unlike many other playwrights, Foote has created a single, fictional but wholly recognizable, town: Harrison, Texas. And that is where he lives. It is a world he knows so well that his characters always ring true, even when they are unforgettably eccentric. And his plots grow naturally out of those wonderful characters.
Those characters include the matriarch, Stella, who will be played by Carolyn Wickwire, most recently seen in The Adobe’s acclaimed Deathtrap. Stella’s three children will be played by Adobe veterans Clifton Chadwick (The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail), Carolyn Hogan (recently seen playing ‘Margaret Lord’ in The Philadelphia Story at The Vortex for which she was also the Costume Designer, and Linda Williams (last on stage at The Adobe in Nickel and Dimed. Stella’s grandson, the manager of the estate and the one who sees clearly the problems ahead, will be played by Micah Linford, most recently seen in Caesar’s Blood at The Adobe and in The Philadelphia Story at the Vortex Theatre (and he will be directing John Patrick’s 1950 comedy The Curious Savage at The Adobe in July). Steve Suttle, another face familiar to Adobe patrons, will portray Bob, a son-in-law who sees the larger problems on the horizon. Other roles will include Adobe newcomers Rhonda Lewis, Laura Starkey, and Cheyenne Bilbrey.
Horton Foote was 91 years old when Dividing The Estate was staged in Off-Broadway New York. He won two Academy Awards for his writing; one for his screen adaptation of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird (1962) and the other for his original screenplay Tender Mercies (1983). He also won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play The Young Man from Atlanta., and was awarded the National Medal of Arts in the year 2000. Albert Horton Foote Jr. died in 2009 at age 93.
Brian Hansen is a Professor Emeritus of Theatre at UNM, having chaired the department and headed up the graduate program. Since his retirement, he has directed more than twenty plays, both here and in California. His most recent directing assignments have included And Away We Go and Juno and the Paycock at The Vortex Theatre and Is Life Worth Living?, Mark Twain’s Is He Dead?, Painting Churches, and Nickel and Dimed at The Adobe. Retirement has also allowed Dr. Hansen to indulge his interest in Anthropology. In his view, Horton Foote is an anthropologist of a different kind, an empathic scientist whose area of expertise is the strange land of Texas.
Dividing The Estate opens Friday, April 29th and plays 4 weekends through Sunday, May 22nd, 2016.
9813 4th St. NW
Albuquerque, NM 87114