Performing Arts of Woodstock
PO Box 517
Woodstock, NY 12498

Performing Arts of Woodstock is Proud to Present
"Otherwise Engaged"
by Simon Gray

Woodstock Town Hall

Chris Bailey: Simon
David Kraai: Dave
Jim Grady: Stephen
Michael DaTorre: Jeff
Sharon Breslau: Beth
Sally Brooks: Davina
Eric Jagoda: Wood

Director: Joey Hoeber
Production Manager: Edie LeFever
Business Manager: Ann Washington
Assistant Director and Stage Manager: Kristina Hauptfuehrer
Set Design & Construction
Evelyn Meier / Nancy Bekaert
Joan Barnett
Lighting Design / Board
Kurt Pragman / Richard Ralff
Sound Design & Implementation
Jonathan Delson
Rhoda Seldes
Barbara Roefs

Woodstock Town Hall is located in the center of Woodstock, at 76 Tinker Street.
For a MapQuest© map of the location, please Click Here

Simon Gray's Otherwise Engaged, a comedy with a mature theme for mature audiences will be presented for PAW audiences under the skillful direction of Joey Hoeber. Witty and off beat in its dialogue and characterizations, Otherwise Engaged, presents a single afternoon in which the carefully constructed life of Simon, a noted publisher, deconstructs.

Simon, [played by Chris Bailey], maintains a carefully ordered existence by emotionally distancing himself from others. Single mindedly intent on spending the afternoon alone with his prized recording of Wagner's "Parsifal", Simon is continually challenged by unsettling interruptions first by the unruly student boarder from upstairs, then, one-by-one, his neurotic school-teacher brother; a drunken friend who tries to involve him in his marital and extramarital affairs; his friend's mistress who is eager to compromise Simon into publishing her book; the father of a young somewhat unstable girl Simon seduced in his office earlier in the week; and last, but certainly not the least jarring encounter of the day, with his own wife Beth. With seldom more than two persons on stage at a time, Bailey who plays the central character throughout both acts, is ably supported by the talented performances of Sharon Breslau, Sally Brooks, Michael DaTorre, Jim Grady, Eric Jagoda, and David Kraai.

Gray's reputation as a playwright was established when Otherwise Engaged came to Broadway in 1972. During it's five year run the play was honored-by awards from the N.Y. Drama Critics' Circle and the Drama Desk. Tom Courtenay, who originated the part in the Broadway production, and later Dick Cavett brought their unique talents to the role of Simon contributing to the critical acclaim of this exceptional comedy.

For further information and ticket reservations for Otherwise Engaged, call PAW [845] 679-7900. Tickets for all weekend performances are $12 and $10 for senior citizens and students. For the Thursday evening performance only, theater goers may make a contribution to PAW in any amount in lieu of purchasing tickets.

The Playwright - Simon Gray

The writing career of Simon Gray began shortly after his appointment to teach English at a college of London University. He published three novels- "Colmaiif", "Simple People" and "Little Portia" before he wrote his first dramatic piece. When Gray's short story, "The Caramel Crisis" was accepted for TV he wrote the screen adaptation. Gray has produced several additional works for TV and won the Writer's Guild Award for "The Death of a Teddy Bear".

In New York, Gray's reputation as a major playwright was established in 1972 when "Butley" crossed the, ocean after receiving the London Evening Standard award for best play.

In 1977 "Otherwise Engaged" opened on Broadway with Tom Courtenay playing the lead. For this work Gray received numerous best play awards including the N.Y. Drama Critic's Circle Award and the Drama Desk Award. Otherwise Engaged was also nominated for a Tony.

At 68 Gray, who considers himself first and foremost a teacher, continues to teach in London while writing major works for the theater [ "to supplement his meager academic salary, " Gray claims].

Review Notes

Clive Barnes, The New York Post

Simon Gray is "wickedly good at satirizing contemporary London middle-class society, especially in its literary and academic reaches.....a society that has much in common with its New York Counterpart."

Douglas Watt, N.Y. Daily News

Otherwise Engaged is a study in detached irony... as nifty a comedy as one could wish for."

Martin Gottfried, N.Y. Post

"An amusing and sensitive, intelligent and funny play."

Brendan Gill, The New Yorker

"As Moliere posed the question of what may befall a man who decides he will always tell the truth, so [Simon Gray] poses the question of what may befall a man who is always entirely reasonable. "

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