"Burbage" Premieres at Cotuit Center for the Arts

Neil McGarry is the star and sole performer of a new play written by Nicholas Minella taking place at the Black Box Theater at the Cotuit Center for the Arts.

Ben Craig - Neil McGarry is the star and sole performer of a new play written by Nicholas Minella taking place at the Black Box Theater at the Cotuit Center for the Arts.

“Burbage,” a new one-man play by Nicholas Minella and directed by Christopher James Webb, will be presented February 15 through March 2 at the Black Box Theater at Cotuit Center for the Arts. Performances are Friday and Saturday evenings at 8 PM and Sunday afternoon at 2 PM. Last weekend’s performances were postponed due to the storm so the production will open this weekend with two additional performances planned for March 1 and 2. 

Neil McGarry plays Richard Burbage, a leading actor in William Shakespeare’s time and the man who first performed many of Shakespeare’s lead characters, including Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, Richard III, and King Lear.

“Richard Burbage was the Daniel Day-Lewis” of his time—someone who was known to immerse himself in whatever part he was playing. He, and the company he led, were a box office draw—and Shakespeare’s plays were “the ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ of their time” said McGarry.

“Burbage” is set in 1610, in Burbage’s dressing room, following a performance of “Hamlet.” As Richard Burbage prepares to leave for the summer tour, he talks to an unseen young apprentice about acting, his accomplishments, and he indirectly grapples with the questions “How do we matter?” and “In what ways do we leave our mark?”

Burbage looks back on the roles he has played, and theatrical experience itself. He also reflects on his relationship with Shakespeare, with his family, his passion for his fellow actors, and his love of the stage.

A native of Hyannis, Mr. McGarry now lives in Marshfield. He knew at a very young age that he wanted to be an actor, and, by the time he was a freshman at Barnstable High School, he knew he wanted to be a classical actor. He was one of the first of the very large group of students to come through the BHS Drama Club when the club was led by drama director John Sullivan. 

Mr. McGarry is a graduate of the National Shakespeare Conservatory, and his credits include New York Classical Theatre, Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Stoneham Theatre, Cape Rep Theatre, and many others. He has also appeared in numerous films and in the soap opera “All My Children.” He recently founded the Bay Colony Shakespeare Company, whose first production is this play. 

McGarry said he was pleased and excited to perform the play at Cotuit Center for the Arts. Tickets are $15, $12 for members. To purchase tickets, go to artsonthecape.org or call the box office at 508-428-0669.

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