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RubenTonyMadeleineTwo River Theater welcomes five playwrights to the stage — including, from left, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Tony Meneses and Madeleine George — to discuss what it takes to bring a script from paper to production, in a free event Wednesday.   

They’re the people from whom it all springs — the bravura performances, the award-winning costumes and sets, the audience-dazzling technical effects — although a good half the time you won’t even find them lurking around the catering tables on opening night.

But if playwrights privately grouse that they often get even less respect than a Rodney Dangerfield rap record, there exists in Red Bank at least one local cubby of culture where the Word is given its due. And on Wednesday, a diverse and distinguished group of dramatists will gather to discuss the never-easy process through which the scripted idea becomes a fully realized moment.

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Guadalupe 1Charles Socarides and Socorro Santiago are transfixed by the world of their favorite telenovela in GUADALUPE IN THE GUEST ROOM. (Photo by T.C. Erickson)


“We’re just a couple of quiet neighbors,” says Guadalupe (Socorro Santiago), a middle-aged Mexican woman who has recently lost her adult daughter Claudia. “We don’t have much to say to each other, even if we could.”

The “neighbor” she refers to is her American son in law, newly widowed Steve (Charles Socarides). But while these two characters find themselves thrust together by tragic circumstances (and kept apart by an awkward language barrier), it’s a shared guilty pleasure that draws them closer in Guadalupe in the Guest Room, the play by Tony Meneses now entering the final weekend of its world premiere engagement at Red Bank’s Two River Theater.

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Tony MenesesPlaywright Tony Meneses is the author of GUADALUPE IN THE GUEST ROOM, the comedy-drama that makes its world premiere on the stage of Two River Theater, beginning in previews this weekend.

A love story of an altogether different sort makes its bow on Valentine’s Day in Red Bank, courtesy of Two River Theater Company.

Written by Guadalajara-born/ Brooklyn-based playwright Tony Meneses, Guadalupe in the Guest Room is a tale of “two people with nothing in common but a shared grief” that’s described as “a deeply moving and very funny celebration of life, new beginnings, and the healing power of telenovelas.” Directed by Daniella Topol (last season’s Wind in the Willows Christmas), it’s a study in what happens when middle-aged Mexican woman Guadalupe (Broadway, stage and TV veteran Socorro Santiago) comes to stay with Steve (Charles Socarides), the American husband of her recently and suddenly deceased daughter — a scenario filtered through the emotional hyperreality of Spanish language TV soap operas.

the Drama Desk at redbankgreen caught up with Tony Meneses as Tech Week loomed and the first curtain neared.

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