Thursday, April 25, 2024

Take a Lyrical and Sentimental Journey with “Chester Bailey”


“Chester Bailey” at Square One Thru March 24th

Square One Theatre, 719 Birdseye Avenue

By Bonnie Goldberg
CT Critics Circle

What would you do if your delusions were comforting for you, especially if you didn’t want to face reality?  What if your doctor in his well meaning way, dedicated to dispelling those delusions, was uncertain if he were healing or helping or harming you?  This dramatic dilemma is at the heart and soul of Joseph Dougherty’s gripping drama “Chester Bailey,” courtesy of Stratford’s Square One Theatre Company weekends until Sunday, March 24th.

The time is 1945 and Chester’s well meaning parents want to protect their son from serving in the war.  When dad secures a job for Chester in the Navy Yard, mom feels this is a gift from God to keep Chester safe.  When a tragic accident occurs at work, Chester is irrevocably harmed by a fellow worker and finds his life changed forever, a patient in the hospital.  Unbelievably Chester does not acknowledge the severity of his injuries, but, rather, adapts to what  he believes happened to him and builds a fantasy life for himself. He takes memories of a lovely red headed girl at a newsstand, dances with her at Luna Park and fashions a beautiful world of longing and love.

Kiel Stango’s Chester believes in his heart that he has found a world he can waltz in, with eyes that are not blind and hands that can hold and be held and he clings desperately to what only he can imagine.  When Al Kulcsar’s Dr. Philip Cotton arrives at the mental institution to correct his distorted views, the two men battle for victory. Do both men suffer from delusions and disappointments and loss? Do the broken need to surrender their thoughts in order to be cured? Can this dream girl survive the doctor’s handiwork unharmed? This two-man 90 minute play will haunt you long after the curtain figuratively falls, excellent performances and taut direction by Tom Holehan. 

Literally let Chester hold your hands and guide you with his set of eyes to a world he has created that gives him hope, resilience, beauty and, most of all, love.

The Square One Theatre Company’s current production of “Chester Bailey”, a Connecticut premiere of Joseph Dougherty’s riveting new play, will continue at the theatre through Sunday, March 24.  The theatre is located at Stratford Academy, 719 Birdseye Street in Stratford.  The play, directed by Tom Holehan and starring Al Kulcsar and Kiel Stango, has early evening performances at 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays with matinees at 4 p.m. on Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sundays.

For tickets ($22, senior/students $20, front row $25), call Square One Theatre, 719 Birdseye Avenue, Stratford at Stratford Academy at 203-375-8778 or online at  Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. with matinees at 4 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Photo Caption:  Al Kulcsar (left) and Kiel Stango star in the Square One Theatre Company production of “Chester Bailey” currently on stage.


  1. A big “thank you” to Barbara and the Stratford Crier for bringing attention to our wonderful new play at the Square One Theatre Company!
    T. Holehan


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