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"the unexpected man"

Charlie was recently in Bermuda for the 30th anniversary of the Bermuda Festival Of The Performing Arts to perform in the play "The Unexpected Man" 31 january through 2 february, 2005. The play has only 2 characters and starring with Charlie was Judy Kuhn. The play was directed by Joel Froomkin

The newspaper headlines during the time that charlie was in bermuda were "Storm slams into Island" "Storm catches Islanders by surprise" "Winter storm packs powerful punch" and "Winter storm batters Bermuda" but in spite of the weather, they still performed to sold out houses for each performance.

here are a few photos and articles on the play, and also, be sure to check out the photos and information on the group "amici forever."

here are some photos from the play taken by the director, joel froomkin
click on the small images to enlarge

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here are a few photos that I took while in bermuda
the hamilton princess where he stayed, the salt water pool: note the angle of palm trees!, the harbor, the houses and streets of bermuda, rich, donna, joel and josh on the set, joel's wonderful set, built by his mom and dad, donna and saul and another blustery day in bermuda.

all photos © and property shaughnessy productions click on the small images to enlarge

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This is a copy of the program from the play. To view the program as a pdf document, you can access that here

If you are not able to read pdf documents, here is the program with each page scanned as an image, click on the small images to enlarge, to read

Program page 1 Program page 2 Program page 3 Program page 4 Program page 5 Program page 6 Program page 7

"an unexpected ride"

By Robin Holder (Entertainment from 2005-02-04 Edition of The Bermuda Sun)

EXCEPTIONAL performances in the Bermuda Festival production of The Unexpected Man redeem a play imbued more with ideas than drama. Written by Yazmina Reza and directed by Joel Froomkin, Monday night's opening at City Hall explored the unfolding relationship between a man and a woman on a Paris to Frankfurt train journey.

The man (Charles Shaughnessy), a writer bitter at life and undergoing a creative crisis is joined in a train compartment by the woman (Judy Kuhn). She has a copy of the Unexpected Man but is reluctant to open it because the author of the book is the man sitting opposite her.

Neither of these individuals talks to each other until late into their journey but engage in a series of internal monologues. The subject of these meandering soliloquies sometimes border on banal ‚‚ an unsuitable son-in-law, use of laxatives, among others.

Somehow rather than descending into tedium Reza's writing takes the experimental risk of gradually building character development before plunging into action. With little variation in tempo during the opening 20 minutes, the audience could not imbibe the dialogue passively. But surmounting these constraints Shaughnessy gives a marvelous account of himself in exploring the nature of this disaffected rouČ. There is also a sense of the emotional dislocation in Kuhn's fully realized character study. The jury may be out as to whether this unorthodox approach worked entirely but the anticipated exchange between the writer and his fan was well worth the wait. This can be largely attributed to finely delineated character portrayals of the cast breathing life into a script fraught with potential pitfalls.

Shaughnessy's curmudgeon may be bitter but he is certainly a charming, witty and sly observer of human frailties. Kuhn equally brings spice to her role as she is not the typical uncritical book fan but has her own perceptive ideas about loss, the desire for intimacy and the value of literature.

Shaughnessy's sympathetic rendering of the writer in turmoil is poignant and very comical when he considered various schemes to approach her. As the climax approaches when they actually break the ice, one had to revel in the way each character mulled over, hesitated, and pulled back.

The Unexpected Man is on one level a romance but it also raises other philosophical questions. Hardly esoteric, these questions relate to the relationship between a writer and his audience, human nature and disconnectedness.

Froomkin's apt direction is spot on and kudos must go to the set designer for the minimal set, notable for its spiral train motif suspended in mid air.

"the joys of home advantage"

Director Joel Froomkin, Charles Shaughnessy (right) and Judy Kuhn photo by Glenn Tucker

Article published Feb 2, 2005 in the royal gazette by jessie moniz
A Bermudian Broadway show director is thrilled to be professionally directing a play in his own country for the first time, as part of the Bermuda Festival. 'The Unexpected Man', which opened on Monday night at the City Hall Theatre, is a play about two people who meet in a railway carriage. A writer (Charles Shaughnessy), finds himself on a train car with one of his fans, a French woman (Judy Kuhn).

'The Unexpected Man' was written by Yasmina Reza. The Bermuda Festival production was directed by Joel Froomkin, a Bermudian working in New York City. "I have been back to Bermuda to visit my family, but I have never directed a show here professionally," said Mr. Froomkin during rehearsals shortly before the play opened this week.

"The last time I was directing here was well over ten years ago." He said directing in Bermuda had been a fantastic and stress-free experience. "There is always pressure to get a show up, but I think 90 percent of getting the show right is casting," he said. "I have a wonderful cast, not just of actors, but of human beings that have been delightful and gracious and very open to work with.

"We have really enjoyed the process. I have brought people in with me to help on the production who are very great people. It has been a really nice prospect. I am happy to share it with the Island. I am really happy to show them a play that I care about." Only a few weeks before the show came to Bermuda, cast changes were announced. The part of the French woman was originally to be played by Harriett Harris, but she had to pass due to commitments with the new television show 'Desperate Housewives'. Her replacement, Judy Kuhn, is a well-known Broadway actress who also has a solo album called 'Just in Time'. "I did have to crash my lines," said Ms Kuhn. "It was a bit daunting, but I think we are there. I feel very fortunate to be here."

Mr. Froomkin said he and the Bermuda Festival organisers decided that 'The Unexpected Man' would be a good choice because of its minimalist nature. It only has a simple stage and two actors.

"It can be rehearsed without enormous amounts of difficulty," said Mr. Froomkin, "even though I ended up rehearsing Charles in Los Angeles and Judy in New York and they only met three days ago. We entered into discussions about it and they cared for the play. We are very excited about the idea. It has been a really nice experience. "The play has been performed before, but Charles and Judy have never done the show, and I've never done the show. It is a whole new production for the festival. That is unusual because normally they bring in something that already exists. This was done just for the festival."

Mr. Froomkin said that although most of 'The Unexpected Man' consisted of monologue, he didn't think the audience would find it boring. "The audience won't find it in any way boring, because we have two actors of such an extraordinary calibre that they could read the phone book and it would be fantastic," said Mr. Froomkin. "I think Reza is a brilliant writer. She writes about the human condition and relationships and emotion and the lack of being able to express emotion almost better than anyone else I can think about. She writes in a human palatable way."

Mr. Shaughnessy, who is well-known for his role as Max Sheffield on the hit television show 'The Nanny', said he could identify with the writer he played in 'The Unexpected Man'. "I understand him," said Mr. Shaughnessy. "I understand his arrogance and his requirement for privacy and solitude, and yet he is an eager schoolboy, desperate for approval and torn between the two." Mr. Shaughnessy talked about the his character's reaction when the French woman starts to read his book but apparently doesn't recognise him. "It's great to play that kind of tension and conflict," he said. "He is tortured the whole journey, poor man."

However, while in Bermuda, Mr. Shaughnessy has not had the same problem as his character. Many people have recognised him on the street, particularly 'The Nanny' fans. "It has been six years since 'The Nanny' ended," said Mr. Shaughnessy. "I have been doing other things. I have been doing some television movies. I shot an episode of a new show in Canada called, 'Young Blades'. It is musketeers and sword fighting, which was fun. "

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