‘Duck Harbor’ from 1st Stage to serialize the surprise of a bicoastal love

In 12 episodes starting June 1, playwrights E. M. Lewis and Bob Bartlett and two actors will make it up as they go along.

1st Stage embarks on a surprise-filled new web series, Duck Harbor, by renowned playwrights E. M. Lewis and Bob Bartlett, who collaborate on the clever, humorous, and heartwarming story of long-distance love in later life.

Duck Harbor is brought to audiences through a creative and innovative series of short scenes in which the actors, just like the characters, are meeting for the first time. Audiences will get to experience the magic of the theater and the excitement of new love between these two lonely hearts reaching out from charming small towns on opposite sides of the country.

Every week, each of the two actors, who live on opposite coasts, will be given only their half of the script and will experience the other side of the story with a sincere and genuine freshness “on stage,” in front of our audience.

Both playwrights have had hits on the boards at 1st Stage—E. M. Lewis with The Gun Show and Now Comes the Night; Bob Bartlett with Swimming with Whales. Duck Harbor is their first collaboration.

“I live in rural Oregon, and it’s rare that I see a story about the people who live in this part of the world on stage,” said Lewis. “Bob and I wanted to write something about two regular people who have big hearts, and no place to put the love in them. It will be quirky and light and funny, but also maybe profound in places—because at a certain point in your life, you start to ask some big questions about where you are and how you got here, and what you want to do with the rest of your life. Wendy and Mac discover that they might not have to ask these questions by themselves; they could explore them together.”

“Managing isolation can be debilitating, especially for folks who live in sparsely populated areas of this big, beautiful mess of a country,” said Bartlett. “It’s easier sometimes to just shut off the parts of ourselves that need other humans. While close to the millions who live in the Washington, DC/Baltimore region, I live even closer to vast lonesome stretches of shoreline of the Chesapeake Bay and its struggling waterfront towns, where I often hike, kayak, and write. While this won’t be a play about shutdowns, lockdowns, or pandemics, Duck Harbor will confront the loneliness we face and the ways we’re living with and without one another.”

Duck Harbor will be performed in 12 episodes every Tuesday at 8:00 PM EDT from June 1 to August 17, 2021. Each webisode installment is provided free of charge. Simply register at 1stStage.org and tune in each week to follow this exciting story as it unfolds over time.

A $15 all-access package, also available at 1stStage.org, includes bonus content—behind-the-scenes with exclusive interviews with the cast and creative team—as well as previous episodes as the story moves forward week-to-week.

‘Duck Harbor’ playwrights E. M. Lewis and Bob Bartlett

About the Authors

E. M. Lewis is a playwright and opera librettist. Her award-winning plays have beenproduced around the world and are published by Concord Theatricals. Lewis received the Steinberg Award for both How the Light Gets In and Song of Extinction and the Primus  Prize for Heads from the American Theater Critics Association, the Ted Schmitt Award  from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle for outstanding writing of a world premiere  play, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, a playwriting fellowship from the  New Jersey State Arts Commission, the 2016 Oregon Literary Fellowship in Drama, and  an Edgerton Award for her epic Antarctic play Magellanica that was produced at Artists  Repertory Theater in 2018 and released as a five-part audio podcast in 2020. Other plays include: Apple Season (which received a rolling world premiere from the National New Play Network in 2019), Infinite Black SuitcaseThe Gun Show (which has had more than thirty-five productions across the country and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland), True Story, Dorothy’s Dictionary, and You Can See All the Stars (a play for college students commissioned by the Kennedy Center). Lewis has just begun a three-year stint as the Mellon Foundation Playwright-in-Residence at Artists Repertory Theater in Portland, Oregon. She is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild, and lives on her family’s farm in Oregon. (www.emlewisplaywright.com)

Bob Bartlett’s plays include Union, an ink-still-drying fiction chronicling Walt  Whitman’s years living and loving in Washington, DC during the Civil War; E2, a  contemporary reimagining of Marlowe’s Edward II, which premiered last season at  Maryland’s Rep Stage; Swimming with Whales (1st Stage); happiness (and other reasons  to die) (The Welders); The Accident Bear (The Avenue Laundromat); The Regular (2020  Seven Devils Playwrights Conference); The Orbit of Mercury (2017 O’Neill Finalist);  Bareback Ink, a queer reimagining of the Ganymede myth, which recently had runs at  the Capital and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals and NYC’s Hard Sparks; and most recently  Three Strangers Sitting Around a Backyard Firepit at Two in the Morning Listening to  Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska, which the playwright produced in his backyard. Bartlett is an affiliated artist with the National New Play Network, a member of The Dramatists Guild of America, and a member of the theatre faculty at Bowie State University, where he teaches playwriting and screenwriting. He is a founding member of The Welders, a DC-based, producing playwrights collective, who earned his MFA in Playwriting at Catholic University of America and lives in an old farmhouse near the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. (bob-bartlett.com)

About 1st Stage   

1st Stage Theatre is an award-winning professional theatre in the heart of Tysons, Virginia. The company serves as a cultural hub for the community producing first-rate theatrical productions as well as hosting professional musicians, orchestras, and visual artists, and providing educational opportunities for the community. In 2020, 1st Stage was nominated for 18 Helen Hayes Awards, winning 5 including Outstanding Production of a Play (The Brothers Size). Other awards include the American Theatre Wing National Theatre Company award, Last year, the company won 5 Helen Hayes

Awards, including an Award for Outstanding Production of a Musical (Fly By Night). Additionally, 1st  Stage is a member of the Catalogue for Philanthropy class of 2016-2017. In September 2016, The Wall Street Journal called 1st Stage “one of America’s most impressive smaller regional companies.” For more information, visit 1st Stage online at 1ststage.org or follow the theater on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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