By day Robert B. Boulrice is the treasurer and collector for the City of Chelsea, managing the city’s tens of millions of dollars and overseeing its valuable investments.
But on nights and weekends, Boulrice dons his literary cape as a versatile playwright – whose comedic talent and writing skills will soon be on display at a theater near you in Chelsea Square.
Chelsea residents will get to see first hand next weekend why Boulrice is held in such high esteem in the area’s cultural community.
Boulrice will be staging three short plays as part of the second annual Chelsea Art Walk on June 12 and June 13 (2 p.m., 3 p.m., and 4 p.m. show times both days) at the Apollinaire Theatre on Winnisimmet Street.
As one would imagine, the presentation of his own plays in his hometown is an achievement that Boulrice treasures.
“I’m honored as can be to have been invited to do this,” said Boulrice, who has 10 staged plays to his credit. “It really is a special thing for me to have some of my works presented in the city where I live. I am very honored and pride of that.”
Boulrice’s first of his three 10-minute plays is titled, “A Simile” – a story about father, a big-time editor for a New York manager who challenges his daughter and classmate, in order that they may attain their hip hop dreams as they improve their grammar.”
“I’m particularly proud of the fact that this play concluded in a rap song,” said Boulrice.
The second play is called “A Bar A Man Walks Into” – which features a major religious figure in the position of bartender. The third play is called “Oy Yea, Oy Veh, A Drama of Juris Prudence” – which presents an interesting day in the courtroom of the Honorable Rufus B. Hayes – where everybody wants to go to jail.
“People laugh like crazy at the Oy Veh play, but it deals with very serious topics,” said Boulrice.
Joe Antoun, artistic director of the Centastage Theater in Boston, is the director of Boulrice’s plays.
Boulrice began his play writing career four years ago, but his connection to theater was launched in 1975 as he pursued his Master’s of Business degree at the University of Utah. The local theater company needed a financial manager and Boulrice was recruited for the position.
“That was my introduction to the theater,” said Boulrice.
Through the years, he has held administrative roles in theater while constantly providing generous support to writers, actors, and theater groups. He is a now co-curator of the Play Pen, a writer’s development group housed at the Central Square Theater in Cambridge.
Boulrice credits his wife, Margaret Carsley, coordinator of the U.S. Census effort in the city, for being the inspiration and the foundation of his play writing dreams.
“Margaret is responsible for all this,” said Boulrice. “People have said to me all my life that I should be a writer and Margaret was the most recent to say that and she put her money where her mouth is and bought me a personal computer.”
Boulrice and his wife traveled to a church in Gloucester and they saw a dramatic reading of Albert Schweitzer memoirs set to the music of Bach and performed by well-known actress Lindsay Crouse.
“I was completely and totally inspired,” said Boulrice. “Schweitzer and Bach were very similar characters a century-and-half apart. They were both the foremost keyboardists of their eras, anti-war, anti-government, humanistic people and they both had the most interesting lives you could imagine.”
Boulrice approached Crouse after the performance and she suggested that he write a play based on the dramatic reading he has seen on stage. Upon a recommendation from a friend who was a professional in the business, Boulrice made it a point to learn exactly how to write plays.
He took a play writing class at the Boston Center for Adult Education taught by Joe Antoun. “He taught me everything I know,” said Boulrice. “It’s so gratifying that something this satisfying can occur to me at this point in my life.”
Boulrice’s play writing talents are known at City Hall and several of colleagues in government – including City Manager Jay Ash – are expected to attend the Chelsea Walk Event and view his plays at the Apollinaire Theatre.
Boulrice said he is “most appreciative” of John Kennard for inviting his participation in the second annual Chelsea Art Walk. He also thanked Danielle Fauteux Jacques, artistic director of the Apollinaire Theatre, “for allowing my plays to be seen on her stage.”