SINCLAIRVILLE - Mark your calendar for Friday, at either 2 p.m. or 7 p.m.
On that day, the Chautauqua County Health Network will present performances of a staged reading, featuring the play ''Vesta,'' by Bryan Harnetiaux.
A staged reading is a performance of a play in which the actors hold their scripts in their hands and read their lines. They may wear costumes or regular clothes which are only suggestions of costumes, and there may be scenery and formal stage lighting, but usually those elements are only suggested.
The performances will take place at the Park United Methodist Church, 49 Sinclair Dr., Sinclairville. The public is invited, and there is no admission charge. Performances last approximately 90 minutes.
Throughout our nation, April 16 is dedicated to ensuring that all adults capable of making informed decisions, have the information and the opportunity to communicate and document their health care wishes to their families and to their health care providers.
Having lost both my parents in recent years, I am well aware that many people who feel they are nearing the end of their lives, become highly anxious and afraid that they might lose consciousness because of a sudden illness, and might be subjected to medical procedures which they don't want, or might be denied medical procedures which they do want.
''Vesta'' is a play about an elderly woman who is suffering from serious ailments, and the tough choices which she and her family must face.
In truth, individuals have a great many rights to choose how they will be treated in various circumstances. However, nobody wants to think about such possibilities, which can lead to circumstances in which the patient is no longer able to make decisions for himself, and families are faced with disputes among themselves, legal red tape, and significant additional expense and frustration.
The end of someone's life is always an uncomfortable topic, and in recent months, some politicians, businesses, and media figures have shamefully distorted and falsified potential situations to frighten the public into supporting practices which are often to the advantage of those politicians, businesses, and media figures, at the expense of the very individuals who are being manipulated.
Bryan Harnetiaux is an attorney, living in Spokane, Washington. He has been a playwright-in-residence at the Spokane Civic Theatre since 1982.
His plays, both one-act and full length, appear in anthologies and have been performed by both professional and community theaters, across the U.S.
In addition to writing original plays, he has adapted prose by writers such as Ernest Hemingway and Kurt Vonnegut, to be used as theatrical performances.
''Vesta'' was workshopped at the Lark Theatre, in New York City, and has been produced by many companies around the nation. The play has always been described as warm and funny, as well as deeply moving. It has often been presented by hospices, churches, divinity schools, medical schools and other organizations as an educational tool and as a vehicle for creation public dialogue about end-of-life issues.
Critic Jim Kershner of the Spokane Spokesman-Review wrote ''Vesta rings absolutely true. In fact, for some viewers, this intimate play about an elderly woman's slow journey toward the inevitable may feel uncomfortably close to home. But, I'm telling you, it's worth it.''
The Sinclairville production of the play is directed by well-known actor, director and impresario Robert John Terreberry, with the leading role performed by Marlene Mudge, a long-time favorite of audiences at the Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown.
Other actors in the cast are Irene Terreberry, Matt Smith, Emily Drew, Marge Fiore, and Cathy Basile. At the end of each performance, the audience will be invited to join in a discussion with the actors and a facilitator, regarding the issues which have been examined in the play.
Because space is limited, the company suggests that people planning to attend one of the performances should phone 338-0010 to make a reservation. Once again, there is no charge.
Here are some commentaries, taken from the web site of the Duke University Institute on Care at the End of Life:
They will come to know Vesta, a fiercely independent 75-year-old matriarch confronting a debilitating stroke and then terminal cancer, her middle-age daughter Carol, who is her mother's primary caregiver, and Carol's husband and teenage daughter, each struggling with the family's upheaval.
But, it's who the audience doesn't expect to see in this tender and often humorous portrait of an ordinary family that surprises most: themselves.
Last Saturday's column focused on the upcoming dinner and auction, sponsored by our Jamestown Audubon Center and Sanctuary, on April 26, at Roberto's Restaurant at the Ironstone.
I am informed that reservations to participate in the evening of fun and art, must be received by April 19, to facilitate menu planning and space availability. For additional information about the event or to get your reservations made, phone 569-2345.
A number of arts events are planned for today at the State University of New York at Fredonia. All are free of charge unless otherwise indicated:
At 1 p.m., a recital by voice student James Judd in Diers Recital Hall.
At 2 p.m., a recital by flute student Brittany Champagne in Rosch Recital Hall.
At 3 p.m., a recital by trumpet student Kathy Haynes and horn student Amanda Roesch in Diers Recital Hall.
At 4 p.m., a recital by viola student Meghan Laux in Rosch Recital Hall.
At 5 p.m., a recital by violin student Josh Prendergrass in Diers Recital Hall.
At 8 p.m., a recital by trumpet student George B. Hammel in Rosch Recital Hall.
Tomorrow on the Fredonia campus, you could attend the following events:
At noon, a performance by Andrew Garland, baritone and pianist Donna Loewy, with repertoire from folk music to opera. It's in Rosch Recital Hall, and admission is $4.
At 3 p.m., a recital by violin student Danielle Darrigo in Diers Recital Hall.
At 4 p.m., a recital by percussion student Jonathan Gernhart in Rosch Recital Hall.
At 4 p.m., a concert by the University Chorus, in King Concert Hall.
At 5:30 p.m., a concert by bassoon student Andrea Roney in Rosch Recital Hall.
At 7 p.m., a recital by voice student Jeremy Richardson in Diers Recital Hall.
At 8 p.m., a performance by Vocal Jazz Ensemble, in Rosch Recital Hall.
Also on the Fredonia campus, there will be a concert on Thursday at 8 p.m. by the Fredonia Wind Ensemble, in King Concert Hall. There is no charge.
Some months back, a very popular concert of music from the U.S. Civil War-era, was performed in Fredonia's 1891 Opera House by soprano Maria Ferrante.
Ms. Ferrante and her accompanist, Lincoln Mayorga, will appear tomorrow afternoon, in Walker Recital Hall, on the campus of Mercyhurst College, in Erie.
Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for senior citizens and students, and $10 for children younger than age 15. Reserve tickets by phoning (814) 824-3000 or by visiting www.pac.mercyhurst.edu. Any unsold tickets will be sold at the door,.
The soprano has enjoyed a successful career, singing professionally more than 15 leading operatic roles from Violetta to Desdemona and as soprano soloist in concert works from the German Requiem to the Lord Nelson Mass.
An organization of 12 highly-respected arts organizations in the Buffalo area has recently come together to create an organization called the Greater Buffalo Arts Alliance. The purpose is to cope with the current economic situation and to share services and to better acquaint the members of the Western New York Community of what is available for them in the area.
Speaking as someone who genuinely tries to provide publicity and support for the arts, who often receives no information and has to discard releases which arrive after deadlines, and all kinds of similar frustrations, I sincerely hope it works.
Interestingly, there is a similar organization entirely made up of 15 Buffalo-based theater companies, called the Buffalo Theatre Alliance.
The alliance is holding a series of general auditions for student actors who would like to perform on one or more of the Buffalo stages during the 2010-11 season.
Similar group auditions for adult actors are planned for the future, but for now, only student opportunities are available.
Students hoping to be considered must be 18 years old or older. They must make an appointment for an audition, and must submit a headshot and resume via e-mail, in advance of their appointment.
No appointments will be accepted after April 21.
Send an e-mail with your first and last name in the subject bar to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include in the e-mail the date and approximate time at which you would like to audition, plus your phone number. Confirmation will be sent by return e-mail.
Auditions are scheduled for April 25, from 5-10 p.m. If all slots are filled, additional auditions may be scheduled from April 26, during those same hours. No Monday appointments will be made until Sunday is filled.
Those hoping to audition should prepare a two-minute monologue for either musical or non-musical auditions. Those auditioning for musical shows should also prepare 32 bars of a song, and be able to provide sheet music to the piano accompanist.
Individual theaters will call back actors they wish to consider, at their own convenience.
No one should audition unless he or she is willing and able to move to Buffalo for the duration of rehearsals and performances of a production, or else willing to drive back and forth to each and every rehearsal and performance.
Now that winter weather conditions seem to be receding and the 90-minute drive to the Buffalo area from Jamestown - even shorter from Dunkirk/Fredonia - is less troubling, the Queen City area seems to be overflowing with possibilities for arts activities. Here is just a small selection:
Performances are Wednesdays through Sundays, from April 21 through May 23. Talk backs with members of the cast are held every Wednesday after the performance, except opening night.
Tickets are $32 for all performances except Friday and Saturday evenings, when they cost $36. Make reservations at 839-8540, or by computer at www.musicalfare.com.
Performances begin April 23, and run through May 22.
The company performs in one of the theaters in the Market Arcade Film and Arts Center, at 639 Main St., in the Downtown Buffalo Theater District. That is directly across the street from Shea's Performing Arts Center.
Performances are Thursdays through Sundays. Check ticket prices and make reservations by phoning (800) 745-3000 or by computer at www.RoadLessTraveledProductions.org.
Those who would like to meet the playwright, who is also known as the author of ''Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfe'' and ''A Delicate Balance,'' among many other plays, are invited to buy tickets to the company's gala, which will be held May 8. Albee will be present at the 8 p.m. performance, and at the subsequent gala, which will be held in Shea's Intermission Lounge, directly across from the theater.
Tickets to the gala are $120, and while the regular ticket prices are not in the press release, they are significantly less expensive than that. Gala tickets may be purchased from the same routes as regular tickets, or through Ticketmaster outlets.
The concert is a fundraiser for the three performing organizations.
All tickets are $12.50. Purchase them in person at the Shea's Box Office, adjacent to the theater in the Downtown Buffalo Theater District, or through Ticketmaster outlets, either in person or by phoning (800) 745-3000 or by computer at www.ticketmaster.com.
Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday. They will take place in the performing space called ''The Church,'' at 415 Plain St., in Lewiston, N.Y.
Tickets are $5, and are general admission, with no reserved seating. Purchase them by phone at 26-8685, which will require leaving a message and being phoned back, or by e-mail, at email@example.com. Also, you can go to www.niagara.edu/theatre and follow the link to ''box office.'' Any unsold tickets will be sold at the door of the theater, beginning one hour before curtain time.