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Ridgewood Director Faces Unexpected Challenge In 2-Person Play

Ridgewood resident Amy Sellars' two-person play will debut at the Radburn Players of Fair Lawn on Nov. 13. Photo Credit: Facebook
Kresch, as Emma, and Aion, as Ulysses, share an emotional on-stage moment in "Annapurna." Photo Credit: Amy Sellars
Stuart Aion and Erica Kresch reherase as Ulysses and Emma in "Annapurna." Photo Credit: Amy Sellars

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — Being unable to find a suitable male actor for her two-person play nearly pushed Ridgewood resident Amy Sellars to cancel "Annapurna" two and a half months before it opened.

Now she's glad she didn't. In two weeks time, Sellars' actors — Stuart Aion, of Caldwell, and Erica Kresch, of Hawthorne — will perform the play that could have never been.

“I think the toughest part of this show is over for me,” said Sellars, who was connected to Aion through a mutual theater friend.

“Scrambling to find an actor willing to dedicate his time and effort to this play, the character, and to put his trust in me to direct, was enough headache to make me invest in Excedrin.

“Since I found Stuart — or he found me — the process has been smooth sailing.”

“Annapurna” is the story of an alcoholic who blacks out one night and doesn’t remember what he did that drove his wife to walk out on him with their son.

The show will debut at the Radburn Players Theater in Fair Lawn on Fri., Nov. 13 and run on weekends through Sun., Nov. 21.

“I gravitate toward plays that are character-driven,” said Sellars, who began rehearsals for “Annapurna” with Aion, as Ulysses, and Kresch, as Emma, in early September. She also directed the theater’s productions of "Love, Loss and What I Wore" and "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged).”

“I like working with the actors on character development and interpretation,” Sellars said, “so you'll rarely see me direct a play that doesn't have characters that the audience can't attach to in one way or another.”

The challenge for Kresch was learning her lines well enough to add personal emotion.

“Once you have the lines down you can really get into the character,” Kresch said. “You have to know them before you put the right action behind them.”

Anyone with a good heart who's made a mistake will be able to relate to Aion's character, the actor said.

"I know I’m a good man and so is Ulysses," he said. "But he’s done some terrible thing."

“Deep down you start with goodness,” he said. “The rest will work out.”

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