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2003 - 2004 SEASON:
Acme opened its 11th season with the hilarious comedy, Don't Dress for Dinner. The cast featured new talent, and we saw a growing audience base. This production was followed by Jack Neary's To Forgive, Divine. This "comedy with a message" was well received and selected for several EMACT awards under their new DASH program of rewarding outstanding non-Festival performances. We were also pleased to be able to showcase one of our favorite local playwrights again. In January 2004 Acme hosted its 3rd annual New Works Winter Festival, held over 6 nights with pieces performed twice during the Festival. Charlie Award-winners of the 2004 Festival included Tom Berry of Lynn, MA for his work, Last Fall at Drumlin, and Chris Lockheardt of Maynard, MA (a first-time playwright) for his piece, What Happens in Vegas.
For the third slot of our main-stage season, Acme chose A.R. Gurney's Love Letters. Following our mission of offering opportunities for our members to grow in their theater abilities, this play was produced using a newly trained Director. Love Letters was performed during the month of February and marketed as the perfect Valentine's Day gift. The Director was challenged to work with three separate couples (two married and one engaged to be married) to present this touching piece.
In March 2004 Acme hosted its first Las Vegas fundraising night to support the theater. We attracted good attendance to this event, and found our theatrical talents to be very useful in dealing cards and throwing dice. Given its financial success (and how much fun we had doing it!), we considered hosting another Las Vegas night in the future.
The 4th slot season wrap-up was Steven Dietz's play, Lonely Planet. After spending the previous 9 months collecting maps and chairs of all shapes and sizes, Acme created the detailed setting of a map store wherein Jody and Carl discuss life, friendship, and fear, amid a growing stack of chairs representing their dead friends. A beautiful, thoughtful play, Lonely Planet was nonetheless considered an "AIDS play" and our audiences were disappointingly small. However, Acme was recognized with several EMACT DASH awards for the regular run of this production.
In May 2004, Acme Theater traveled to Nova Scotia by special invitation to perform again as the United States entry at the biennial International Theatre Festival. It was a tremendous honor and unprecedented to be invited twice within 5 years. Acme brought a group of 12 cast and crew and a cutting of its production of Lonely Planet to Liverpool, and shared this Festival experience with groups from Canada, Belgium, Venezuela, Romania, Croatia, Australia, and Poland. Lonely Planet, a play about the strength of friendship during difficult times, transcended the many language barriers of this Festival, and was an overwhelming audience favorite. We also re-kindled old friendships, mixed and mingled with all 12 participating groups, and volunteered where we could to help this tremendous festival succeed. The quality and diversity of the performances at this festival was staggering, and we felt fortunate to be a part of it.
Less than 1 week after returning from Liverpool, Acme brought the cutting of Lonely Planet to the May 2004 EMACT Festival, where it was nominated for Best Production, Best Actor (Tom Berry), Best Actor (David Fisher), and Best Set Design (Dave Sheppard), and received the Award for Best Production. In July 2004, as the Massachusetts representative, Lonely Planet overwhelmingly won Best Production at the AACT New England Regional Festival, earning the right to represent New England at the AACT National Festival in Kalamazoo, Michigan in June 2005. Lonely Planet also won awards for Best Director (Dave Sheppard), Outstanding Actor (Tom Berry), Outstanding Actor (David Fisher), Outstanding Set Design (Dave Sheppard), and Best Stage Manager (John Murtagh).