Providing a Commentary on the Social Issues of Our Time – Posted 12/18/14

Alexander J. Kucsma, associate professor of English at County College of Morris (CCM), will be presenting an exploration of the issues that challenge society with the premiere of his play, The Park Bench, at the college in January.

Kucsma, who writes under the name of John Glennville, will present his play on January 9 and 10 at 8 p.m. and January 11 at 2 p.m. in the college TV Studio, located in the Learning Resource Center, Room 217. The play is free and open to the public.

A play of ideas, The Park Bench provides a commentary on such social issues as gun control, gay marriage, and heterosexual love and marriage. The issues are presented around the simple plot of an older man offering advice about love to a young woman and man.

“While the message of the play is that the rediscovery of the old principles of love can lead to happiness, the play provides a counterpoint to contemporary liberal thought given by a delightful old man who loves to sing Cole Porter songs,” says Kucsma.

The play is directed by Chase Newhart, of New Providence, who has acted with The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey in Madison and directed for both the Summit Playhouse and the Chatham Community Theater. His production of Glengarry Glen Ross won the Perry Award for outstanding production of a play in New Jersey.

Appearing in the play are Robert Mackaset, of Mendham, as Sam; Peter Kendall, of Bloomfield, as Phillip; and Lauren Klemp, of Montville, as Katherine.

Mackaset’s performance experience includes off Broadway and regional theater. After a long hiatus, he is returning to the stage. He has been seen in regional theater and amateur productions including Death of a Salesman, All My Sons, God of Carnage, Glengarry Glen Ross, Gypsy, The Boy Friend, Threepenny Opera, The Fantasticks, and most recently A Christmas Story, The Musical.

Kendall, a graduate of Montclair State University, has been cast in a number of shows including Murder In Green Meadows (Bickford Theatre), Don’t Dress For Dinner (Millbrook Playhouse), Sherlock Holmes and The Hound Of The Baskervilles (The Theater Project), and Jailbait (Alliance Repertory Theatre). He also performs with the professional New Jersey improvisation group Howdy Stranger.

Klemp, a graduate of Fordham University and the Maggie Flanigan Studio in NYC, has starred in several off-off Broadway plays and independent films. Most recently, she has appeared in local productions of Run for Your Wife (Barn Theatre) and Harvey (Summit Playhouse). She also will be appearing in the upcoming production of Wait Until Dark at the Bickford Theater at the Morris Museum, opening January 29.

The Park Bench is being presented at CCM in association with Eric Hafen, artistic director of The Bickford Theatre.

Kucsma joined the CCM faculty in 1972 after earning his bachelor’s degree from Rider College and master’s degree from Bowling Green State University. At CCM, he teaches American Literature and Composition. He is a former mayor of Franklin Township in Somerset County and a former sergeant in the United States Army Reserve.

For two years he attended the Cape May National Playwright Symposium where his work was critiqued by award-winning playwrights including William Mastrosimone (The Woolgather), John Pielmeier (Agnes of God) and Pulitzer Prize winner Lee Blessing A Walk in the Woods). He also is a member of the Dramatist Guild. Writing as Glennville, he has co-authored three other plays – Suleyman, The Insurrectionist and The Raven and The Answering Carol – with Mel Gencer, a former CCM student and a pharmacist currently living in Turkey.

# # #

Alexander J. Kucsma

Photo Credit: John Hester