Little Theatre in Newtown puts on must see production of ‘Annapurna’

Alexander Kulcsar of Fairfield and Ann Kinner of Westport starred in "Annapurna" in Newtown.

Alexander Kulcsar of Fairfield and Ann Kinner of Westport starred in "Annapurna" in Newtown.

Town Players of Newtown Little Theatre / Contributed photo

There’s only one weekend left to catch “Annapurna” at Town Players of Newtown’s Little Theatre. There are so many reasons why you need to see this play. First know that the cast features Alexander Kulcsar and Ann Kinner. Both are award-winning actors.

If you have ever seen Kulcsar’s roles, then you know why you must see him in this riveting performance which will have you wanting to hate his character and hug him at the same time. Kulcsar is truly a master actor. Theater runs through his veins straight to your heart. If you are not familiar with this actor, now is the time to catch up. When he and Kinner talk, they really talk. They look into each other’s eyes. They respond to each other. They do not anticipate lines; they do not wait for cues. They are living on stage in the skins of two powerful characters — Ulysses, a reformed drunk and poet, and Emma, the ex-wife who walked out on him 20 years ago. Now, she’s back.

Kinner has done plenty of stage work as well as television. She held a six-year recurring role in “All My Children,” Other television credits include “The Sopranos,” and “Sex and the Ciry” as well as the HBO series “The Leftovers.” In her current role in Newtown, she is slightly subdued with an edge that is subtle but very sharp. You want to like Kinner’s Emma, but you’ll be cautious because she has one giant secret. It’s as big as a mountain and she tries to keep her ex and herself from falling down that slippery slope.

If reasons one (Kulcsar) and two (Kinner) haven’t already gotten you to call the box office, consider that Ruth Anne Baumgartner directs this piece with piercing realism. She is faithful to playwright Sharr White’s intentions. The timing is impeccable and the show moves along at a fast pace rendering an 85-minute, no intermission, unforgettable story. Baumgartner has a long outstanding reputation in theater. She also teaches at Central Connecticut State University.

Still another reason to see this play is because it is really good. It grabs hold of you as soon as the action begins and doesn’t let go until the very end. White keeps the audience waiting for the secret to be revealed. We don’t know why Emma took off in the middle of the night with their young son and stopped all communication with the man she swore she loved. He doesn’t remember anything because he used to go on drinking binges that would erase days and sometimes weeks of his life.

Set in Paonia, Colo., in a dilapidated trailer that is filthy and full of garbage, trash and papers, only the book-filled shelves reveal the depth of intelligence these two characters have. When Emma arrives she immediately tries to straighten up the place. Their son has hired a detective who has traced and found Ulysses’ location. He’s about to visit his father. The audience doesn’t know how that reunion will end up because the son is an absent character, but essential to the finely written play fully realized at the Little Theatre in Newtown.

The title comes from the mountain “Annapurna.” However, the mountain these two characters have to climb to come to terms with their lives is an obstacle-capped peak every bit as challenging as a climb up Everest or any tall and dangerous mountain.

It’s playing through Aug. 10. Box office: 203-270-9144. Do not miss this opportunity.

Joanne Greco Rochman is an active member in the American Theatre Critics Association. She welcomes comments. Contact: