ROBIN’S SHOW RECOMMENDATION & DISCOUNT: Rapture, Blister, Burn
After grad school, Catherine (Amy Brenneman) and Gwen (Kellie Overbey) chose polar opposite paths. Catherine built an impressive career as an academic, author, media personality, while Gwen built a home with her pot-smoking, porn-loving, unmotivated husband and two children…the husband, being Catherine’s old boyfriend who walked down the aisle with Gwen when Catherine was off engaged in career pursuits in London. Decades later, each unfulfilled, they reconnect and attempt to trade lives, at the center being Gwen’s husband (Lee Tergesen). Gwen and Lee are living a marriage of mediocrity. Gwen knows she wants more or at least thinks it…and Catherine knows that Don is capable of more but wreaks havoc with his psyche at the very suggestion. He is content, or seemingly so, serving as the Dean at a local university.
With searing insight and trademark wit, Gina Gionfriddo’s comedy is an unflinching look at gender politics in the wake of 20th century feminist ideals.
Directed by Peter DuBois, this is one of the most engaging plays I have seen in some time.
Meaty material. Top notch performances by all. Smart dialogue and delivery. Laughs. Wisdom. Depth. Twists. Clever sliding sets. This could have been a Lifetime movie….but then I would have missed the theatrical experience.
I liked these women and enjoyed spending time with them. I wanted to join the conversation. On some levels, it felt voyeuristic, in a good way….being up close ‘n personal to their emotional struggles, as they stripped away their protective layers (and in some cases clothing) in an effort to seek out passion, whether personal or professional.
I could relate to the concept of making choices in life and wondering if it’s truly possible to have it all? And, when all is said and done, what is it that contributes most to happiness in a relationship and life?
See it with a girlfriend….perhaps a fellow mom. You’ll have lots to ponder and discuss….not to mention the feminist beliefs of Betty Friedan and Phyllis Schlafly (who I was not familiar with, but welcomed hearing her perspective).
Gina Gionfriddo (Playwright) was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for Becky Shaw, which had its world premiere at the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville and its New York premiere Off-Broadway at Second Stage. In 2011, the play opened in London at The Almeida Theatre. Other productions of Becky Shaw include The Huntington Theatre, South Coast Repertory, The Wilma, Actor’s Express and Lawlor Studio in Australia. Her other plays include After Ashley (Humana Festival; Off Broadway at The Vineyard Theatre; regional theatres throughout the country; and abroad in Poland); U.S. Drag (Off-Broadway by the stageFARM and regional productions); Guinevere (O’Neill Playwrights’ Conference); and the one-acts Squalor and America’s Got Tragedy (commissioned and presented by the stageFARM). Gina has received an Obie Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, The Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, an Outer Critics Circle Award, The Helen Merrill Award for Emerging Playwrights, and an American Theatre Critics Association/Steinberg citation. She has written for the television dramas “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” “Cold Case” and the upcoming “Borgia.” She has contributed essays on rock music to the literary journal, The Believer, and short fiction to Canteen. Gina attended the MFA Playwriting Program at Brown. She has taught writing at Brown, Providence College and Rhode Island College. She is currently working on a commission from Center Theatre Group.
Peter DuBois (Director) is the Artistic Director of the Huntington Theatre Company, where he most recently directed Craig Lucas’s Prelude to a Kiss and Gina Gionfriddo’s Becky Shaw, as well as the world premiere of David Grimm’s The Miracle at Naples. He also recently directed the Off-Broadway run of Becky Shaw at Second Stage Theatre and its world premiere at The Humana Festival. He served for five years as a director, associate producer, and resident director at The Public Theater, preceded by five years as the artistic director of the Perseverance Theatre in Juneau, Alaska. Public Theater directing credits include the LAByrinth Theatre Company’s productions of Bob Glaudini’s Jack Goes Boating and A View from 151st Street (both NY Times Critics’ Picks); Measure for Pleasure (SSDF Callaway Award for Excellence in Direction; Drama League Award nomination for Distinguished Production of a New Play); Richard III with Peter Dinklage (a Newsday top-ten of 2004); Adrienne Kennedy’s Mom, How Did You Meet the Beatles (NYT Critics’ Pick); and Biro (NYT Critics’ Pick). His directing credits at Perseverance include the West Coast premiere of Suzan-Lori Parks’ In the Blood and the world premiere of Chay Yew’s The Long Season. Regional credits include a revival of Sam Shepard’s Curse of the Starving Class at American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco and productions at Trinity Repertory Company and California Shakespeare Theater. Prior to leading Perseverance, Mr. DuBois lived and worked in the Czech Republic, where he co-founded Asylum, a multinational squat theater in Prague.
Amy Brenneman (Catherine) is well known to TV audiences as Dr. Violet Turner on “Private Practice,” Judge Amy Gray on “Judging Amy” (two TV Guide Awards, three Golden Globe nominations, three Emmy nominations, People’s Choice nomination, Screen Actors Guild nomination) and Janice Licalsi on “NYPD Blue” (two Emmy nominations). Film: 88 Minutes, The Jane Austen Book Club, Nine Lives, Downloading Nancy, Heat, Daylight, Your Friends and Neighbors. Theater: The Learned Ladies (CSC), Mac Wellman’s Sincerity Forever (BACA Downtown), God’s Heart (Lincoln Center), title role in Brecht’s St. Joan of the Stockyards (Yale Rep). She is a graduate of Harvard University, where she was one of the co-founders of Cornerstone Theater Company, a touring production company that takes classics to small towns, integrating locals with professional actors.
Beth Dixon (Alice). Broadway: The Royal Family, Major Barbara, Wrong Mountain. Off-Broadway: Wings (Second Stage); Vieux Carre, Mary Stuart (Pearl); The Cripple of Inishmaan (Atlantic); Endpapers (Variety Arts); Therese Raquin (CSC); Booth Is Back, A Distance From Calcutta (York); Before It Hits Home (The Public); America Dreaming (Vineyard). Regional: Three Tall Women, Tartuffe, All My Sons, The Grapes of Wrath, The Glass Menagerie, Fuddy Meers, King Lear. Film/TV: “Storm of the Century,” Kinsey, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe.
Virginia Kull (Avery). Playwrights Horizons: Assistance. Broadway: Man and Boy, Dividing the Estate, Old Acquaintance. Off-Broadway: Sex Lives of Our Parents (Second Stage); The Orphan’s Home Cycle (Signature); Dividing the Estate (Primary Stages); Theophilus North, The Breadwinner (Keen Company). Regional: The Orphans’ Home Cycle, Dividing the Estate, To Kill a Mockingbird (Hartford Stage); A View From the Bridge, Death of a Salesman (Arena Stage); The Tempest (Louisville). TV: “Boardwalk Empire,” “Nurse Jackie.”
Kellie Overbey (Gwen). Playwrights Horizons: The Savannah Disputation, (Lortel nomination), Betty’s Summer Vacation. Broadway: The Coast of Utopia, Twentieth Century, Judgment at Nuremberg, Q.E.D., Present Laughter, Buried Child. Other Off-Broadway: Good Boys and True (Second Stage), Ophelia in Hamlet (CSC), Animals Out of Paper (Second Stage). Film: Favorite Son, Sweet and Lowdown, Outbreak. TV: “The Good Wife,” “Law & Order,” Stephen King’s “The Stand.” As a playwright: Once Around the Sun, Girl Talk and My Wife’s Coat.
Lee Tergesen (Don). Off-Broadway: Good Boys and True (Second Stage), The Foreigner (Roundabout), The Exonerated (45 Bleecker). Regional: Vengeance is the Lord’s (Huntington), Naked at the Coast (Coast Playhouse). Film: Wayne’s World, Point Break, Shaft, Monster, The Session Man (Academy Award-wining Best Short Film, 1991). TV: “The Big C,” “Army Wives,” “House,” “Royal Pains,” “The Closer,” “Oz,” “Desperate Housewives,” “E.R.,” “Homicide,” “Weird Science,” “Exonerated.”
For subscription and ticket information to all PLAYWRIGHTS HORIZONS productions, call TICKET CENTRAL at (212) 279-4200, Noon to 8 pm daily. Playing at — Playwrights Horizons Mainstage Theater (416 West 42nd Street).
DISCOUNT OFFER: Save up to $30
Order by June 12 with code PlayRBBlog, and tickets are just:
$50 (reg. $70) for performances through June 24.
Note: Thanks to Mama Drama for arranging and to Playtime for providing these tix.