Main Stage West releases its play schedule for 2014
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Main Stage West in Sebastopol (MSW) will present an eclectic season of plays both classic and new for 2014. Starting the year off is the political thriller “Yankee Tavern” by Stephen Dietz. This “edge-of-your seat” drama, running Feb. 7-23 and directed by MSW artistic director Elizabeth Craven (“Mauritius,” “Exit the King”), is brimming with mystery and intrigue.

In a New York dive bar five years after 9/11, a young couple (Ilana Niernberger, Tyler Costin) find themselves face-to-face with a mysterious stranger (John Craven) who turns what seem like harmless conspiracy theories into a continuous stream of surprising and dangerous revelations in an eye-opening look at the events that forever changed our country. Anthony Abate also stars in the play.

Following (March 13-30) is the one-man tour-de-force, “Underneath the Lintel” by Greg Berger. Starring John Shillington and directed by John Craven (The Memory of Water), “Underneath the Lintel” takes place on an inauspicious morning at a Dutch library where the librarian makes an unexpected find in the overnight return box: a much mistreated Baedeker's guidebook,123 years overdue. The librarian, who has never left his native town of Hoofddorp, zips from China to Australia, Germany, and America in his search for the missing miscreant, all the while having the time of his life. 

In April is the California premiere of Si Kahn’s musical tribute, “Mother Jones in Heaven.” Elizabeth Craven directs the indomitable Mary Gannon Graham (“Patsy Cline,” “Shirley Valentine”) as the invincible Mother Jones in this one-woman musical by the legendary songwriter and activist, Si Kahn. This play runs April 25-May 11.

 “T.I.C. (Trenchcoat In Common),” a comedy by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, runs June 13-29. In a summer devoid of friends, money and fun, a teenage girl starts a blog about her apartment building and the strange characters inhabiting it. She begins to pry deep into the lives of her eccentric and mysterious neighbors, sharing her research online. But the deeper she goes, the more secrets emerge, and what begins as a lark quickly becomes dangerous. 

MSW will then offer up “Hedda Gabler,” the beautiful and amoral anti-heroine in Henrik Ibsen’s classic drama of the same name from Sept. 12-Oct. 5. “She’s mean at the beginning and even meaner at the end,” according to Christopher Isherwood of the New York Times. But wait! Is Hedda not fully justified in her behavior, as a brilliant woman living in a limiting and narrow-minded world? The debate over Hedda is as topical today as when it was written in 1890. “Hedda Gabler” is directed by Elizabeth Craven and stars Ilana Niernberger as the passionate Hedda. 

Autumn brings the 2013 Tony Award winner for best play, “Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike,” by Christopher Durang, running Oct. 23-Nov. 15. This riff on Chekhov has won every major theatrical award. In it, middle-aged Vanya and Sonia share a home in Bucks County, PA, where they bicker and complain about the circumstances of their lives. Suddenly, their movie-star sister, Masha, swoops in with her new boy toy, Spike.  And what would a Chekhov send-up be without a family home in jeopardy of being sold off? 

All performances are at Main Stage West, located at 104 N. Main St. in Sebastopol. Tickets are $25 general admission, $20 for seniors (65 and older) and $15 for those  under 30. Thursdays are pay-what-you-will. Tickets may be reserved by calling (707) 823-0177 or online at www.mainstagewest.com.

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