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Writing Center Director Debuts in <i>New Curtains</i>

January 13, 2003

Writing Center director Larry Weinstein's play New Curtains for Macbeth had its world premiere at the Boston Playwrights' Theatre this month. The play, running through this weekend, was a finalist in the International Playwriting Festival last year. In a review, the Boston Phoenix described New Curtains as "innovative" and Weinstein as a "promising playwright."

When the play opens, actor Mack Finer (played by Weinstein) greets the audience with the news that the play they have come to see, Macbeth, has been cancelled. The actor playing King Duncan has been killed - brutally murdered in his sleep by the sharp end of a can opener. Finer, Deeds' understudy, will instead provide the evening's entertainment. Finer says he will pay tribute to Deeds and then perform a few scenes from the Shakespeare classic.

What follows is a fascinating retelling of Macbeth - delivered as a monologue by Finer and complete with the comedy, drama and creative word play of the original.

Finer rants about his efforts to build his career as an actor. He has emotional cell phone conversations with his wife, Deirdre, who serves as his agent and advocate during lunch breaks from her job working the cosmetics counter at Macy's. He reenacts an incident at his part-time job as actor-in-residence at a local school where one of his students makes an alluring prediction that Finer will have the career success he craves. Finer curses the late Deeds for promising to promote Finer's career in the theater, but then setting up his son as his replacement, instead.

Fans of Macbeth may recognize allusions to the classic by now.

"There are themes within Macbeth that resonate with me as a person living in the 21st century," Weinstein said in an interview. "My reworking of the story reflects my personal sensibilities."

According to Weinstein, acting in his own play has been a challenge, but has also given him the opportunity to make some revisions in his text based on the experience. As for the future, a few theaters have expressed interest in producing his play when the current run finishes. Also, Weinstein is currently writing a musical version of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis.

New Curtains for Macbeth is presented in cooperation with the Lyric Stage Company and directed by that company's artistic director Spiro Veloudos. The play has its final four shows this weekend: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. The Boston Playwrights' Theatre is located at 949 Commonwealth Ave., Boston. Call 617-492-0431 for tickets.

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