By Valerie Lawson
On Sunday, February 5, the Eastport Arts Center welcomed Stage East at the Sunday Afternoon series with a staged reading of Afternoon Tea by Alaric Greene. The play, directed by Carolee Bier, featured cast members Manuela Brice, Jude Kempe, Viv Blatt, Alison Brynn Ross, and sound and lights by Bernie Cecire. The event opened with commentary by Carolee Bier, who spoke about the acquisition of the play and gave some background material for historical references in it.

Viv Blatt (from left), Alison Brynn Ross, Manuela Brice and Jude Kempe starred in Stage East’s recent staged reading of ‘Afternoon Tea’ by Alaric Greene. Thanks to Bernie Cecire for photos, as well as sound and lights for the reading.

The play, set in a secluded cottage in a village in mid Devon, England, opened with Ida Patterson, played by Manuela Brice, hosting one of her regular afternoon teas, delayed due to the many lockdowns in 2020. After her two slightly unusual guests (Jude Kempe as Major Simon Hopton and Viv Blatt as Tilly Templeton-Greene) arrived they were interrupted by the Vicar, played by Alison Brynn Ross, who very shortly finds out more than she expected about the village and the other guests, who were ghosts.

The afternoon closed with an audience participation discussion about personal experiences during lockdown. People spoke of alienation, being afraid of infecting elderly relatives and loved ones, and the difficulties of everyday life. On the flip side, being able to work from home was viewed as positive, and the access to arts performances, readings, museums and other events online was a plus. The Arts Center was singled out for praise for offering events online.

Sunday Afternoons at the Arts Center programs are held in Eastport Arts Center’s cozy downstairs Washington Street Gallery, amidst rotating exhibitions. Admission is by voluntary donation; proceeds are shared equally between the presenters and EAC constituent group The Concert Series, which offers year-round programming run by volunteers. No one is turned away for lack of funds.

Find the full 2023 schedule and more posts about upcoming and past programs here: https://eastportartscenter.org/constituent-groups/the-concert-series/.