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The Happy Ones

By Julie Marie Myatt

Directed by Sharie Renault

Prices

Donation

$15 Gratefully Accepted
GEneral $25
GRoups $20
Students $15

October 5, 6, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20

Friday - saturday: 7:30pm | Sunday Matinee: 5:00pm
Thursday: 6:30pM
Food & Wine Reception before the play reading

Join Us At Grace Episcopal Church

1492 Library Lane
1314 Spring Street, St. Helena
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Opening Night: October 4

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About

“The Happy Ones,” which was the winner of the Schmitt Award for Outstanding New Play, is a poignant, story in the aftermath of the Vietnam War.  The play is set in suburban Orange County in 1975. Walter Wells feels he is the happiest man on earth, with a beautiful wife, two great kids and a home with a pool. His life is one of contentment, until fate strikes a devastating blow. A Vietnamese doctor—who has escaped as a refugee after the war and is dealing with his own deep sadness—slowly helps Wells find forgiveness and hope and in this uplifting—and surprisingly funny—play.

Performing in “The Happy Ones” are Gabriel Frey, cast as Walter Wells; Tony Banthutham, as Bao Ngo; Fred Ireland, as Gary Stuart, the Unitarian minister; and Shannon Emery plays the comedic role of divorcee Mary-Ellen Hughes, who is new to the neighborhood.   This is Tony Banthutham first time on stage. Behind-the-scenes, Jan Bradley stage-manages the production, and Ben Casas and Alan Schneider run sound and lights.


Place

Orange County, California

Time

1975,1976, 2009

Intermission

15 minute intermission halfway through the play

Talk Back

the actors and director will hold an open discussion with the audience at the conclusion of the performance.

Auditons

Orange County, California

1975,1976, 2009

Actors

Orange County, California

  • Walter Wells - Gabriel Frey
  • Bao Ngo - Tony Banthutham
  • Minister Gary Stuart - Fred Ireland
  • Mary-Ellen Huges - Shannon Emery

1975,1976, 2009

Auditons

Orange County, California

1975,1976, 2009

Auditons

Orange County, California

1975,1976, 2009

Auditions

Auditons

Orange County, California

1975,1976, 2009

Auditons

Orange County, California

1975,1976, 2009

Cast

Director's Statement

Julia Marie Myatt’s play “The Happy Ones”, pierced my heart when I read it. Myatt created her main character, Walter Wells, from the images in a photo collection by Bill Owens of 1976 Suburbia in Orange County. For her play, Julie researched what was happening during that year and chose to focus on the end of the Vietnam War and the exodus to California of 250,000 educated, upper-class Vietnamese refugees. From these refugees, she unearthed Bao Ngo, a Vietnamese doctor forced to leave his country and begin a new life. In contrast, Walter Wells is comfortably living the American Dream in Orange County and then…tragedy strikes. The play is about these two men and how their lives crossed.

At our first meeting the actors and I shared how we related to these characters. Fred Ireland (cast as Gary, the Unitarian preacher) shared that he considered becoming a man of the cloth after his tour as a Marine in Vietnam. At that time, he was stationed in Guam, helping assimilate the first wave of the vast immigration of Vietnamese to Camp Pendleton.

Tony Banthutham, who is new to acting, plays Bao. Tony, born in Thailand, shares similar life experiences with his character Bao; both of them are Asian immigrants in the United States.

As we rehearse night after night we discover more about these characters and work tirelessly to create subtle nuances to bring you an authentic experience on stage of their loss, joy, and forgiveness.




Directed by Sharie Renault