River District Theatre Wausau Staircase playThe Staircase, a two person play by Charles Dyer, is the latest production by The Wausau River District Theatre to be performed this weekend at the Wausau YWCA. The play stars Larry Kirchgassner, a regular of the Wausau Community Theatre and Gary Anderson of the River District Theatre.

From the Wikipedia description of the play:

Staircase is a two-character play by Charles Dyer about an aging gay couple who own a barber shop in the East End of London. One of them is a part-time actor about to go on trial for propositioning a police officer. The action takes place over the course of one night as they discuss their loving but often volatile past together and possible future without each other.

River District Theatre Wausau Staircase play gary anderson larry kirchgassnerThe play was first performed in 1966 by the Royal Shakespeare Company with Paul Scofield and Patrick Magee. The Broadway production directed by Barry Morse opened on January 10, 1968 at the Biltmore Theatre, where it starred Eli Wallach and Milo O’Shea, who was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play.

A film adaption of the play was produced in 1969 starring Richard Burton an Rex Harrison, but was met with critical and financial failure, mostly due to budget overruns and poor marketing by the studio. Missing much of the warmth of the original play, many critics called the film version a camp comedy that devolved into stereotypes.

But the play itself shouldn’t be judged by a poor film adaptation. While labeled under the canon of gay theatre, homosexuality is only incidental to the development of the story. The real story is an older couple spending what could be their last night together, and how they will cope despite the dependencies of each other that have developed over time. The play is fun and engaging with elements of drama.

The Staircase

Friday and Saturday August 24th and 25th at 7:30pm
Sunday August 26th at 3pm

Location: YWCA – 613 5th Street, Wausau, WI

Phone: (406)925-0718

Special Reception to Benefit the YWCA with at 6:30 pm before August 24th show – Limit 20 at $20 includes wine, hors d’oeuvres and preferred seating.

Cost: $10 reserve by phone or pick up tickets at Art, Books & Banter 614 3rd St.
$13 at the door. Refreshments included – No one turned away due to lack of funds