NEPA Scene Staff

Actors Circle hosts comedy of manners ‘The Dining Room’ at Providence Playhouse in Scranton March 10-20

Actors Circle hosts comedy of manners ‘The Dining Room’ at Providence Playhouse in Scranton March 10-20
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

From a press release:

Community theatre group Actors Circle will present A. R. Gurney’s “The Dining Room” at the Providence Playhouse in Scranton on Thursday, March 10 through Sunday, March 20.

Directed by Mark Fryer and produced by Jeff Ginsberg, this comedy of manners uses a cast of eight players – Cathy Rist Strauch, Scott Rave, Ray Hopkins, Tom Malone, Jessi Teevan, Lisa Chokola, Justin O’Hearn, and Katie O’Hearn – to bring the more than 50 characters to life.

The play is set in the dining room of a typical well-to-do household, the place where the family assembled daily for breakfast and dinner and for any and all special occasions. The action is comprised of a mosaic of interrelated scenes – some funny, some touching, some rueful – which, taken together, create an in-depth portrait of a vanishing species – the upper-middle-class WASP.

The actors change roles, personalities, and ages with virtuoso skill as they portray a wide variety of people, from little boys to stern grandfathers, and from giggling teenage girls to Irish housemaids. Each vignette introduces a new set of people and events; a father lectures his son on grammar and politics; a boy returns from boarding school to discover his mother’s infidelity; a senile grandmother doesn’t recognize her own sons at Christmas dinner; a daughter, her marriage a shambles, pleads futilely to return home, etc. Dovetailing swiftly and smoothly, the varied scenes coalesce, ultimately, into a theatrical experience of exceptional range, compassionate humor, and abundant humanity.

“The Dining Room” runs at the Providence Playhouse (1256 Providence Rd., Scranton) on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. on March 10, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, and 20. Tickets are $12 for general admission, $10 for seniors, and $8 for students, with the exception of Thursday, March 10, when tickets are $8 for general admission and seniors and $6 for students.

For reservations, call 570-342-9707 or email All reservations are held 10 minutes until showtime. Masks may be required for this event.

This show is presented with assistance through a grant from the Lackawanna County Arts & Culture Department.

Now in their 40th season, Actors Circle was formed in 1982. A group of actors was sitting in a circle on the floor of the University of Scranton auditorium and decided on the name for their organization before performing their first production, “The Crucible.” Originally, the group was known as the Jefferson Hall Players, but the University asked them to change the name because there was already a small theater group at the University with that same name.

Over the years, Actors Circle has also performed at other venues, such as the Scranton Cultural Center, the Century Club, the Jewish Community Center, Nay Aug Park, the Everhart Museum, the Lackawanna Children’s Library, the Lackawanna County Courthouse, and the Tripp House.

In 1984, Providence Playhouse became home to Actors Circle. In this small intimate theater, productions such as comedies, dramas, classics, musicals, plays from well-known authors, and obscure, but important playwrights have been performed. Actors Circle has also commissioned original works, such as the adaptation of “Frankenstein” by Scranton native Ted LoRusso and an original play by John McInerney. Other theatrical organizations have also been welcomed to perform in the home of Actors Circle, such as DGM Productions, Inc.

The founders’ mission was to keep live theatre accessible to the general public, as well as to educate and enlighten not only audiences, but actors, directors, technical crew, and stage managers as well. Actors Circle continues to strive to fulfill this goal by providing the community with laughter and thought-provoking performances.