By Cindi Pree
Life-altering choices aren't a new theme in the world of theatre, certainly. Like love and human relationships in general, life’s choices are the stuff of great theatre. Big choices are often also part of the business of theatre, too!
In the summer of 2007, MBT took a new fork in the road by adding in-house productions to our usual touring “road-house” shows. The first self-produced Summer Rep series consisted of three rotating plays featuring a combined cast of four actors. Building on the success of several years of Summer Rep, we launched Winter Rep in February 2010 and Main Stage Rep in October 2011. Winter Rep is a single play with multiple performances, while Main Stage Rep represents yet another fork as a much larger, Broadway-style production.
Summer Rep is now an established annual event at MBT. The upcoming 2014-15 season offers three fabulous chances to explore both the drama and the comedy that happens when we reach a point in our lives that leads to taking a new direction. Most of us who have lived well into adulthood either have faced, or see coming at us, that time where we pause to examine the past, dare to question the future, and perhaps choose a different fork in the road than the one we expected to take.
In Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Neil Simon works his expectedly witty magic as Barney Cashman, overweight and overworked, married and middle-aged, attempts to join the sexual revolution before it’s too late. Barney’s three seduction choices add their own humor in the form of a kooky 20-ish actress, a bundle of neuroses with a foul mouth, and a gloomy, depressed housewife married to Barney’s best friend.
Lanford Wilson’s 1980 Pulitzer Winner Talley’s Folly joins Sally Talley in her journey as she explores her choices: probable spinsterhood or life with a kindred spirit she is sure her family will never approve. Set in 1944 Missouri, these characters find a touching wholeness rare in human relationships.
In the final selection of this summer’s season, we take a devious and delightful romp with Becky Foster as she explores a different fork in the road that is her life. Becky’s New Car, by Steven Deitz, takes a look at the temptation Becky faces to flee her middle-age, middle-management, middling-marriage life.
Whether you have already faced that proverbial fork in your life’s road, wonder how you would react if you did, or you just want a great theatre experience, this stellar selection of plays will amuse, delight, and likely provoke some interesting conversations.
MBT Summer Rep runs July 15 through August 10.