Fresh off a successful New York production of Lady Day in New York, and from moving his home across the river to Lambertville from New Hope, Stephen Stahl is making waves yet again with his directorial skill in Sanctuary, a powerful one-woman show about the universal experience of war.
The play just finished its debut at the Capital Fringe Festival in Washington, D.C., and will next appear at the Edinburgh Fringe (Aug. 17-22, 11 a.m.; Aug. 24-28 at 1:25 p.m.), followed by the United Solo Theatre Festival at Theatre Row in New York City (Oct. 4 at 2 pm.)
“I find Sanctuary to be a very important play,” said Stahl. “It deals with man’s inhumanity towards man — a subject I have explored since becoming aware at a young age that my uncle was a Holocaust survivor. ‘Is there an answer to war’ is the question the play asks.”
A seasoned writer and director, Stahl received his early training at The Hedgerow Theatre under Jasper Deeter and Rose Schulman, then moved to New York City and studied with Lee Strasberg at the Actor’s Studio. His production, directorial and industrial credits include numerous professional stage shows, award-winning films and a decade of writing, producing and directing the Philadelphia Music Awards.
Sanctuary features a very spare scene design, utilizing small props and “black box” film projection techniques to define the solo actor’s space, and to highlight playwright/performer Susanne Sulby’s role as a sort of housewife/news correspondent.
Sulby, who lives with her family in Yardley, has performed for over 20 years, including roles as Gertrude in Hamlet (Rev Theatre), Aunt Bobbie in American Sligo (New City Stage Company), Yelena in Black Russian (InterAct Theatre), Molly Bloom in A Dublin Bloom based on James Joyce’s Ulysses (Royal Shakespeare Company), and as Queen Elizabeth in Richard III (Novel Stages). Her first film role was playing opposite Billy Crudup in the 2000 award-winning Evenstar feature film, Jesus’ Son. Her film credits also include the recent feature Silver Linings Playbook.