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Stratford's Square One Theatre Takes On Touching 'The Outgoing Tide'

Peggy Nelson, Damian Long and Al Kulcsar in "The Outgoing Tide."
Peggy Nelson, Damian Long and Al Kulcsar in "The Outgoing Tide." Photo Credit: Contributed photo

STRATFORD, Conn. — Tom Holehan became a theater major in college because he wanted to act, but he was quickly drawn to the directing side of things.

“I found I’d much rather criticize than do it myself,” he joked recently. “I just like the creative process. It’s a passion of mine.”

Holehan, director of programming and public relations at Stratford Library by day, is getting another chance to live out his passion this month with “The Outgoing Tide.” He’s directing the thought-provoking and surprisingly funny play for Stratford’s own Square One Theatre.

Performances of the play began March 3 and will run through March 20 at the theater’s new space at Stratford Academy, 719 Birdseye St. The company is celebrating its 26th season in the new black box-style theater that seats about 75.

Holehan helped found the company as a reading group at the library, where he has worked for 31 years. The library also hosts a Friends of Square One Theatre that includes several people who were involved in the former American Shakespeare Theatre in town.

Holehan chose Bruce Graham’s “The Outgoing Tide” as this month’s play because it’s tailor made to Square One’s space and actors.

The play, a family drama that centers on a couple and their grown son, won acclaim off Broadway a few years ago. Holehan said he often looks to off-Broadway shows for inspiration because they tend to have smaller casts and sets than Broadway’s mega-hits.

“We’re a small theater, so I look at things that are reasonable,” Holehan said.

The play stars Al Kulcsar of Fairfield, Damian Long of Bridgeport and Peggy Nelson of Hamden, all of whom were part of a highly successful informal public reading of the play at the library two years ago.

Long plays the grown son, who has an uneasy relationship with his father (Kulcsar), who is in the early stages of dementia. The family has to make some tough decisions, “but the father has plans of his own,” Holehan said.

“It is a drama with heart, humor and humanity,” he said, “and I am fortunate to have a cast that can do great justice to the playwright's words.”

Tickets are $20, and $19 for senior citizens and students. For tickets or the performance schedule, call 203-375-8778 or visit squareonetheatre.com

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