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Sunday, 20 November 2011 17:14

'Same Time Next Year' is compelling despite technical issues

Written by Shahnaz Ahmed
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The Details

  • Director: Regina Bennett
  • Dates: November 11 - 20, 2011

I am still amazed that a play that made me laugh so much in the beginning left me teary eyed at the end with a strange ache in the heart at the end. “Same Time, Next Year” is a play about Doris (Amie Bossi) and George (Andrew Topping), a couple who carry on an affair once a year, every year, for 25 years. Through the years, they share stories of their lives including their spouses and their children and I watched as not only their lives changed, but their characters also.

Interestingly, I knew about the story before I went and was curious to how such a feat was tackled. I don’t think I expected it to be good. And then I laughed and laughed and laughed and when the first scene ended, I thought, “wow! This is going to be fun and interesting”

The set of the play remains the same throughout. It’s a room of the Sea Shadows Inn in Modesto, California. The set was designed by Bill Garffie, Constance L. Gubser, Kyle Mc Kenna, Laura McKenna, Joe Moore and Kathy Schottel. The set was simple and worked very effectively for what the play needed to accomplish. I even enjoyed the modest props provided by Joan and Richard Potvin. This brings me to one of the pitfalls of the evening - the scene changes. I felt I waited a long time as we watched the bed getting made or messed up. Of course, the actors were backstage changing but I kept wondering how they could fix this issue. I don’t profess to have any solutions, but it might be something for the crew to consider.

The second scene picked up 5 years later. How will this play hold my attention now, I wondered? What else can there be about an affair? And once again, I found myself being pulled into the play. The flawless acting by Amie and Andrew really sucked me in as I felt George’s guilt and neurosis over his daughter’s baby tooth. And then the punch line when Doris talked about how she thought about George and despite the guilt how she made up her mind to make that trip every year. I could never write as well enough to do the scene justice. Wish I had a replay on that as I sat there spell bound and transfixed. As with scene changes, I was woken out of my reality only when the lights went out yet again for a long change.

I must say that act two wasn’t as funny as the first act and the first scene of act two felt a little lethargic. This was the one time during the play that I couldn’t seem to magically fall into a trance. Was it Amie’s hippie costume that distracted me? I don’t know. I felt almost “forced” to watch and then I snapped right back into the play and into the scene with Andrew’s confession about the passing of his son. That was a powerful moment for me.

Thank God for those powerful moments because the costumes were sometimes distracting. In one scene, for example, Amie changes into a silk kaftan nightgown of leopard print. That took me away from the play briefly as I wondered, “what the heck is that for?” Most other costumes were well placed and appropriate.

The last scene was notably the most emotionally challenging scene as I clung on to every word and sat on the edge of my seat, gasping and feeling a strong pull for both characters. If you are even vaguely curious, I would suggest you go watch this play before your time runs out. It would be well worth it!

On closing, I will say the sound design was very well executed (John Piskulic) especially the piano being “played” by Andrew. The songs played during scene changes did an excellent job to set the mood and have you rooting for the couple having an affair yet again. A very well directed play by Regina Bennett and very well acted. Ah, the magic of theatre that makes you believe...

For information on upcoming shows by KTK Productions, you may visit www.kurtainkall.org.

Additional Info

  • Director: Regina Bennett
  • Dates: November 11 - 20, 2011

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