Disillusioned and driven

. May 16, 2012.

The Purple Rose Theatre’s second play of their 2011-2012 season, William Mastrosimone’s A Stone Carver, opens on January 19 and runs through March 10. The Purple Rose’s longtime artistic director, Guy Sanville, will move out from his customary director’s chair to take on the role of  Agostino, the father in the play, while Rhiannon Ragland, who has acted in numerous Purple Rose productions, will make her professional debut as director. I began by complimenting Ragland on her fabulous work in last year’s Consider the Oyster. She replied that it was the result of Sanville, “kicking my butt!”

Are you looking forward to kicking his butt now that the shoe will be on the other foot?  

Ragland: Oh, very much. Yeah. (Laughter)  

Sanville: I’m really looking forward to it. I’m still producing the show, but she’s the director and I’ll respect that, and hope she’s not too hard on me. (Laughter)   

Ragland: I’ve wanted to see if I am capable of that, if that side of my brain actually works that well. I want to know more about what we do, not just as an actor, but what we do as a theater, as a company. You want to explore and see what other talents are hidden in you.  

A Stone Carver comes out of Mastrosimone’s own family’s experience.   

Sanville: It happened to his father. There’s a speech in the play where Agostino says, “In Italy, the Mafia come to my father and they say, "you pay this money every week." He tell me, "you go to America, you work hard, you get to keep what’s yours, nobody take it away from you.” And then his home gets taken away from him through eminent domain. Mastrosimone told me that that’s a true story. Here’s a guy who buys into the American dream and does everything right: He goes to work, he pays his taxes, he buys the stone, he builds his house — and just like that, they come and take it away from him.  

Ragland: There’s a lot of romance in this show, too. It’s not the traditional man/woman romance, but the romance of family and of relationships. Agostino is not driven to prove himself by his worth. He’s in love with his work.   

Sanville: He believes he’s born to make beautiful things.  

Ragland: But he says it’s hard work, too. His son says, “You have talent.” And Agostino says, “What talent! I worked my ass off for this.”  

Sanville: His son’s fiancé says, “Maybe he doesn’t have your gift.” Agostino says, “I bust my ass twenty years for this gift.”    

Ragland: I think everybody has had that moment, whether it’s with a parent or a mentor who’s trying to push you, trying to help you, and you feel, for whatever reason, like you need to go and stand on your own, right or wrong. I think there are parts of it that are identifiable for everybody.

Performances are at the Purple Rose Theater, 137 Park St., Chelsea. $10-$40, depending on day. 734-433-7673. www.purplerosetheatre.org 

Trending

Louis Picasso & The Gallery Exhibit ‘The Burning Canvas’ (Live Album)

Louis Picasso and The Gallery have made a grand gesture with their newly released live album. Several gestures, really.  First and foremost, the Ypsi-based alternative-rap ensemble wanted to give something to their fans. They wanted to give something to music-lovers everywhere, truth be told. Because it’s been a rough year, and we need something that’s

The Hard Road and the Lessons Learned: Shawn Butzin’s Adventures Continue

New single, Indigo Sky, is the first of a series of new music. Shawn Butzin reveres songwriting as a kind of expedition, and fulfillment is the arrival. In this case, the finished song. Fittingly, a recent release was titled Adventures; also, several of the songs on his debut album came to fruition while he was

Michigan and State Theaters to Reopen Friday, October 9

The Michigan and State theaters are reopening this week! This is what you need to know about safety protocols as the theaters are reopening and what’s playing.

Bountiful Harvest: Growing Hope Launches Auction Fundraiser to Benefit their Mission

Local chefs and food personalities are lending their expertise to help Growing Hope raise money to keep residents of Washtenaw County fed. Here’s how to join the auction!