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Best-Selling Author Mara Purl Steps Back on Stage to Honor Her Father’s 100th Birthday


Best-selling author and noted actress Mara Purl brings the haunting beauty, romance and danger of the sea to The Mezzanine stage on February 26, 27, 28 and March1 in the award-winning play, "Sea Marks". Purl, who played Darla Cook soap Days of our Lives in 1986, co-stars with Christopher Law in this entertaining and compelling two-character theatrical tour-de-force, directed by Colorado Springs’ grande dame of theater Eve Tilley.

This production has a special place in Purl’s heart. Thirty years ago her father, Raymond Purl, a graduate of Yale Drama School and an accomplished thespian, directed her in this play in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Conservatory’s production honors Ray Purl’s one hundredth birthday – a goal he missed by 26 days. Performances are still being held in his honor. And a studio at the Conservatory is being dedicated in his name.

Ray Purl had an accomplished international business career as Co-Director of Nippon Unicar in Tokyo, Japan, and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. His life also included a parallel track on which his passion for theatre ran, ultimately resulting in his directing over 200 plays. Immediately after WWII, and before his return to corporate work, he reconnected with his parental theatre-roots and earned a Master of Fine Arts from the Yale Drama School. He directed plays for The Connecticut Players, and after moving to Tokyo, joined Tokyo International Players, where he directed scores of productions, co-starred in several, and served as president. Both he and his wife were given lifetime membership at TIP in honor of their many years of service. During the Tokyo years, Raymond also served as a consultant to the National Theatre of Japan. Upon retiring from his business career, he directed at the Diamond Head Theatre in Honolulu. After moving to Colorado Springs, his most notable enterprises included a trail-blazing production of Alan Ayckbourne’s "Intimate Exchanges", which drew the playwright’s praise and an invitation to visit his home in England. As a tribute to their Colorado home, Purl also wrote, directed and co-starred in his own play "General Palmer", performed at the Pikes Peak Center. Local audiences remember his appearances at Library events, portraying both Andrew Carnegie and General Palmer.

The production benefits the Colorado Springs Conservatory and information and tickets are available at http://www.themezzcos.com.

The Purl family has a well-known legacy. Raymond's mother, Beatrice Saville, was a founding member of Actors' Equity. Marshie Patton Purl appeared on Broadway and co-starred in the Sci-Fi classic "Time Travelers." Linda Purl is well-known for her work in Homeland, Happy Days and Matlock. And Mara's best-known television work was on Days of our Lives.

Mara Purl honors her own roots with "Sea Marks," both as a third-generation thespian, but also for her Welsh ancestry. Her character "Timothea" hails from Wales. And after spending the summer of 1984 performing the play in California's Central Coast region, she created her own radio drama, loosely based on Cambria. Discovering the town's name was Welsh, she research historic towns in Wales and chose Milford-Haven for the name of her drama. When her original radio drama "Milford-Haven USA" became a hit on BBC radio, she invited to visit the real Milford Haven. And when the town honored her with a parade and a reception in Town Hall, she was astonished to find one of her ancestors was a former mayor. "I was writing my own roots without realizing it," said the author. "This taught me that listening to our hearts is what gives us the most extraordinary guidance. It's how we find our true path."
Purl's radio drama went on to garner 4.5 million listeners throughout the U.K., and later to be developed as the Milford-Haven Novels. Book One, "What the Heart Knows" became a best-seller in 2011, and each book in her series has followed suit, making Mara a leading voice in Women's Fiction. "I write about the heart," she declared, "and about how we as women tend to put our own feelings aside, putting our spouses, families, and jobs first. But can we truly be our best selves when we're not fully self-expressed? Are we even on our own to-do lists? Our heads provide important logic and strategy for our lives. But it's our hearts that give us meaning and purpose." Purl recently spoke on this topic to a sold-out luncheon sponsored by Colorado Springs Health Partners, and is a previous speaker for the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women.

The Milford-Haven Novels explore the complexities of modern life, with Purl's characters balancing relationships with careers, environmental concerns with business interests, and providing a delicious mix of romance and mystery. "Sea Marks" is a simpler, more focused tale about two characters whose loneliness brings them together, but whose work, obligations and goals pull them apart.

“If you’ve ever tried to balance a relationship and a career, ever wanted to love – but on your own terms - you’ll relate to these characters,” says Mara. “You may shed a tear. You most certainly will laugh. And you’ll feel like you’ve received a Celtic love knot.”

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