Remembering Good Harbor Beach – a staged reading

Remembering Good Harbor Beach – a staged reading

Remembering Good Harbor Beach, a staged readingSaturday, May 13, 5 – 6 PM
The Cultural Center at Rocky Neck
Free/$10 suggested donation
This new one-act play in two parts, written by Debra Wiess and performed by Susan and John Van
Drie, takes the viewer literally Cape-to-Cape. Building on historical sources, it presents an imaginative
account of the budding creative and romantic union between Edward and Josephine Hopper (née
Nivison) during the summer of 1923 when they each came to paint in Gloucester; the play then re-
encounters the couple at their summer home in Truro, MA sixteen years later, well into their
complicated marriage. It was during their first encounters in Gloucester that Jo Nivison encouraged
Hopper to try painting with watercolors, and after the summer of ‘23 that Nivison arranged for Hopper’s
work to hang next to hers in a show at the Brooklyn Museum that would help launch his career. It is
often forgotten that Jo was an artist in her own right, her work hanging next to that of Picasso,
Modigliani and others. The play recognizes her talent and gives Jo her due. This two-character 30-
minute one-act play set on two Massachusetts Capes, Cape Ann and Cape Cod, will be presented in a
wide variety of arts and cultural venues throughout the region this year, the 100th anniversary of that
pivotal summer.
About the playwright/director
Debbie Wiess is a Boston-based writer who writes plays and poetry in French and English. Her work
in both languages has been presented throughout the US and abroad in traditional theatres, alternative
spaces, on the radio, cable and internet. In addition to being an award-winning, published author, she
directs and produces projects and events. Passionate about the arts, she is drawn to subjects related
to art and artists, and loves to be able to present in museum and gallery spaces. She is thrilled and
honored to be presenting Remembering Good Harbor Beach about Edward and Jo Hopper, and Ten
Pound Island about Winslow Homer in Gloucester, 1880, at renowned arts organizations Rocky Neck
Art Colony and North Shore Arts Association, in East Gloucester, where these artists worked.
About the actors
John Van Drie (Edward Hopper) is a Chicago native, living in New England since 2001. After his recent
retirement, he has jumped into the Newburyport theater scene, acting and writing short plays, some of
which were even good enough to have been performed. He lives with his wife Susan in North Andover.
They are excited to have this opportunity to act together on stage, for the first time and have many
fond memories of our visits to Gloucester and Rocky Neck.
Susan Van Drie (Josephine Hopper, née Nivison) is a retired psychotherapist and former college
theater major. She recently began participating in theater again in the Newburyport/Amesbury area,
and has been privileged to act in several plays through ‘The Actors Studio of Newburyport’, The

Firehouse of Newburyport, ‘The North Shore Readers Theater’, and the ‘Playwrights Collaborative’,
where she will also direct for the first time. She and John are enjoying the challenge of bringing the joys
and frustrations of married artists to the stage in Remembering Good Harbor Beach.

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