Sam Shephard’s play, Ages of the Moon, about two men who have been friends for 50 years reassessing their lives, will appear at Milford Theater in August, staged by Beth Kelley’s Side of the Road theater company. While some would see this as two grumpy old men talking, Beth Kelley identifies the play’s virtues.
“It’s funny, beautiful, and quirky,” says Kelly. “Ages of the Moon is unique among Shepard’s works for its touching story.”
The interaction between its two characters, Ames, the hothead played by Roy Wilbur, and Byron, bemused and self-possessed, played by John Klemeyer, is multilayered and fluid.
“It’s a gorgeous piece of theater,” says John Klemeyer. “If you only hone in on the sad moments, you miss the point of the play. Shepard injects a level of sophistication into these characters,”
Klemeyer, who has been part of this theater company for many years, is now its artistic director and works with Beth Kelley to select the plays.
“He’s actually been doing that all along,” says Kelley.
Beth Kelley has been a producer, director, and acting coach for more than 20 years, previously staging shows at the Waterwheel, the Dimmick, and wherever possible. She produced the sold-out Death of a Salesman at the Milford theater recently, and received enthusiastic reviews.
Kelley follows the Meisner Method, which entails having actors react to each other for inspiration. She was a drama teacher at Delaware Valley for many years, and has a reputation nurturing and developing characters onstage.
Roy Wilbur, a veteran actor of 20 years, is new to the Milford area. He says, “Beth has brought out a lot of sides to my acting. She makes you want to work hard and she lets you take risks.” John Klemeyer echoes the sentiment.
“Beth never ceases to amaze me with her insight into characters,” he said. “She makes the character a lot better and sometimes she tells you, ‘no’.”
Side of the Road Company has about 10 actors, including Darren Fouse, Taylor James, Gillian and Patrick Turner. As Kelley Klemeyero plan next season, they are becoming more interested in people from Middletown and Monticello, as well as surrounding New Jersey.
“I can train anyone who’s willing to train,” said Beth.
This is particularly relevant because she is now also starting a five-week drama course to train local high school students and young adults. The course starts August 15. To sign up, contact Beth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Klemeyer, actor and inveterate aficionado of live theater offered this thought. “Ages of the Moon will suck you in, and you will experience joy, laughter, and empathy,” he said. “Live theater is Planet Fitness for your emotions.”
If you only hone in on the sad moments, you miss the point of the play. Shepard injects a level of sophistication into these characters. - John Klemeyer