The Altar Boys’ Picnic

An HB Staged Reading

Part of the 6 Playwrights in Search of a Production…

Playwright: Frank Canino

Director: Frank Canino

Cast: Reed Birney*, Jim Boerlin*, Matthew Conlon*, Liam Mitchell*, Anslem Richardson, Louis Zorich*.

Managing Director: Marlene Mancini Technical Director: Corrie Beth Shotwell Office Manager: Tara Webb Stage Directions: Tom Tinelli

*Appearing courtesy of Actor’s Equity Association

The Altar Boys’ Picnic was performed on April 11th & 12th, 2008

Synopsis: One summer afternoon four priests in their mid-fifties meet for a reunion — possibly their last — at the bishop’s summer residence where they used to come for their annual altar boys’ picnic. They have known each other since their childhood when they fell under the influence of the charismatic Father Edward Calkins, who first guided them into the seminary. Later he became the bishop who ordained them and then dominated their lives. But Bishop Calkins is dead, and the four men are at a critical moment in their lives. One of them is on the verge of leaving the priesthood, another is involved in a love affair, and still another is facing a life threatening illness. They spend the day with the bishop’s older brother, Father Michael Calkins, whose career never matched that of his brilliant brother’s. Also with them is a young seminarian from Rwanda who has been temporarily assigned to help Father Michael prepare to go to a retirement home. Through the day, these three generations of men, who have made the uncommon decision to give their life to God, reunite to eat, play basketball, reminisce and deal with mementoes of the past. But as the day wears on they also reveal – sometimes against their will – how problematic their lives have become, and how they have become estranged from the Church which should have nurtured them. Whatever happens to each of them, no one will be the same after this picnic, where decisions must be made and unpleasant news dealt with. In what may be their last meeting, truths withheld are finally spoken, and delayed confrontations erupt.