Guilford Free Library presents 'Curtain Up'

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GUILFORD — On Sunday, Sept. 24, at 2 p.m., Don McLean, of Guilford, will speak about his mother, Jean Stewart McLean, and will preview the first-ever performances of her short plays, which will be produced by Guilford Center Stage at Broad Brook Grange in October.

The production's director, William Stearns, and several of the actors, are expected to join in the discussion. This presentation will serve as an in-depth preview for play-goers. We'll read a scene or two from the plays, and the actors and director will comment on their experience giving the premieres of these works.

McLean will talk about his mother's upbringing and writing, and will particularly focus on her work for the stage, which consists of these four one-act plays. He will cite connections between the content of the plays and the author's own early life.

The production, "To Their Appointed End," consists of four short plays written about 70 years ago, but never before performed. The production — featuring 17 community actors — commemorates the centenary of the playwright, who was born in Rahway, New Jersey in 1917. The family lived in the rectory of the Episcopal church where her father was the minister, thus she grew up in a setting which particularly informs two of these plays.

In 2013, McLean published "Sparks," a book collection of her writings — poetry, short stories, and plays, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the author's death in 1963. Guilford Free Library has a copy of this book available for circulation.

The plays are "The Vine," "To Their Appointed End," "Where the Saints Have Trod," and "Happy Holidays."

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