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Theatre Jacksonville offering delightful. Sparkling.
Patricia Vanstone and Norm Foster in the Theatre Jacksonville production of On A First Name Basis. 2013

Theatre Jacksonville presented another installment of the Guerilla Show Series (Theatre with a Bite!) on Jan 18, 19, 20 with an International Theatre Festival, a first for Jacksonville. If you are not familiar with the Guerilla Series, it features weekend shows that are scheduled twice a year outside the theatre's regular season. The format allows TJ to present new or cutting edge works, and has been very successful and well received. The International Theatre Festival was outstanding, well attended, and a definite coup for Theatre Jacksonville, which is now in its 93rd season.

The opening play, which had three performances, was "On a First Name Basis," written by Canadian playwright Norm Foster who also played the leading role of David Kilbride. Kilbride is a wealthy, successful novelist, who discovers he knows nothing about the full-time maid and housekeeper who has worked for him for 28 years. Patricia Vanstone, also a Canadian actor, is Lucy Hopperstaad, an attractive 54-year-old who has never married. Kilbride on this evening is interested in learning everything he can. He starts by asking her to tell him her first name. What follows is a delightful two hours of sparkling conversation that is revealing and heartwarming. It is extremely well-written and was superbly acted. The set, generously furnished by Cort Furniture, was simple with two overstuffed chairs and solid wooden furniture. This was the North American premier; the play opened in Bermuda to rave reviews. The Dual Critics do not know when it will be published and the rights made available, but this would be a marvelous piece for a group with a small theatre space. It could easily displace A.R. Gurney's "Love Letters" as a favored choice. Foster is Canada's most produced playwright, and we are hoping to see more of his work on our stages.