“Butterball” at Cotuit Center for the Arts Cotuit Center for the Arts presents “Butterball,” a new and “highly inappropriate” Thanksgiving comedy by Bronwen Prosser, in the Black Box Theater November 5 to 22. Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 8 PM and Sunday at 2 PM. “Butterball” takes the dysfunctional family holiday to a whole new level of absurdity. “It’s a raucous and unconventional concoction of murder, mayhem, parlor games, and a Thanksgiving turkey,” said Woods Hole playwright Bronwen Prosser, who has written and directed several other plays including “The Caretaker,” “Church,” and “The Make-Out Queen.” Her most recently play is “Face East,” which she wrote under the Kaplan Foundation Four Squared grant.
“The one-hour, one-act play is “unlike anything I’ve ever written,” she said, “as well as an homage to the end of an era in this Black Box Theater. I love this space and have found a theatrical home here, thanks to executive director David Kuehn’s fabulous habit of saying ‘yes’ so often. I wrote this one specifically for the space and for the actors I wanted to use.” Diane Quaid plays Flora, the matriarch, who has given her prodigal son Harry, played by Elliott Sicard, the responsibility of cooking the turkey for the first time. In his late 20s, he is still held in his mother’s iron grip and molded by her language. They are joined for Thanksgiving by Norbert Brown as “Uncle Dickie,” Flora’s illicit lover, his daughter Clarabelle, played by Aisha Stewart, and his wife, referred to only as Wife, who is played by Liz Brown. Prosser describes “Butterball” as “almost a contemporary period piece” because of the “super-flowery” language that Flora uses. “It’s an incredibly fun show,” said Prosser. “The holidays are a time of heightened energy, and of unobtainable, often crippling, expectations of ourselves and our families. It’s so universal, and so are all the neuroses of family members. I am looking at that in an absurd, cathartic way, and the cast and I find ourselves laughing at the bizarreness of the play, and finding relief in utter strangeness of these characters.” Quaid has appeared in numerous theatrical productions for Cotuit Center for the Arts, including “Lucia Mad,” “Joyful Noise,” “Christmas Punch,” “Center of Gravity,” and “Grey Gardens,” as well as with the Barnstable Comedy Club, the Bluestone Actors’ Project, Cape Cod Community College, Eventide Arts, Falmouth Theater Guild, the Woods Hole Theater Company, and others.
Sicard has been in four CCftA shows including “Bark Park,” “Stop Kiss,” “Two Rooms,” and “The Pirates of Penzance.” He teaches English and theater at Sandwich High School. Stewart has appeared in many plays at CCftA, including “Stop Kiss,” “Moby Dick! The Musical,” “Center of Gravity,” and “The Vagina Monologues.” Norbert Brown has appeared in “Stop Kiss,” “Black Comedy,” “Becky’s New Car,” and with the Toby Britches Improv Group at CCftA. Liz Brown has appeared in “Sordid Lives” and with the Toby Britches Improv Group at CCftA. Prosser cautions that, due to language and themes, the play is not suitable for children.
Prosser graduated from UMass Boston with a self-study major in Women and Performance and from New York’s Atlantic Theater Company Acting School. She has appeared in shows in Chicago, New York, and Boston, as well as in the Sundance syndicated web series “Sparks” and the short film, “Breaker,” for which she received a Best Actress award. She appeared as Sister James in CCftA’s production of “Doubt,” and teaches performance and writing classes at the center as well.
Tickets are $15, $12 for members. Cotuit Center for the Arts is at 4404 Route 28 in Cotuit. For more information, visit artsonthecape.org or call 508-428-0669. # # # What: