TR Robertson …The newest play at Scripps Ranch Theatre, on the Alliant International University campus, will take the audience through a range of emotions dealing with lost relationships, new relationships and possible relationships. The play, written by Jim Caputo, is a both a humorous and thought provoking look at one of the most complex and compelling aspect of human existence, the mystery of relationships.
Caputo said, in the program, he has combined four of his award winning short plays into this particular play. He is an actor, director, designer and writer and the recipient of numerous awards as well as having his plays produced from coast to coast. Caputo was in attendance on this opening night and he said many parts of the play are taken from personal experiences and circumstances.
The play is divided into four related acts. The setting is December 24, 2016, Christmas Eve and Hanukkah Day 1. Act 1 deals with Jane, who has sworn off men, at a coffee shop, speaking with friend Ruth about her feelings toward men. Jane is a divorcee, who has no desire to get into the dating scene as she feels men has no sense of commitment and she doesn’t want to enter the world of “quickies” and “friends with benefits”. Her main concern is her “mama” in the nursing home. We will see Ruth again later in the play. We will also see a homeless lady, Jamie, later but the top to a pot she has will surface again. As Ruth leaves, enter Anthony, also recently divorced and a new member to the social media dating scene, he also has the top to the pot Jamie had – “Every pot needs a top”. A very funny encounter ensues between Jane and Anthony as he thinks she is one of the social profiles he is set to meet at the coffee shop. One thing leads to another and by the end of Act 1, Jane may be changing her mind about dating again. One thing stands out in the act; you will never know what may draw people together. In Jane and Anthony’s case it is crossword puzzles, also Jane decides she has to stop analyzing everything and “let life happen”.
Photos by Ken Jacques
Playing Jane is SRT and regional theatre veteran Sherri Allen and playing Anthony is Paul Morgavo, also a veteran of many regional theatre productions. Both actors present a wonderful portrayal of people walking the tightrope of relationship development.
Act 2 is a more somber act as this act deals with the death of a loved one, how people “handle” dealing with death and for one young lady the preparation for the coming death of a loved one. Grace DeLaney plays Mary, and is in her first production at SRT. DeLaney presents, what we believe at first, to be an unusual observer who frequents the funeral home. We will find out at the end of Act 2 what her purpose is. Enter Amy, played by Rhiannon McAfee, who has a hard decision to make about her father. The discussion of death, its purpose to our lives and our reaction to death, is thought provoking. Caputo stated the death of his father led him to jotting down a series of thoughts about death which he put away, only to break out later when he put the play together. One interesting thought Mary brings up is when you look at the body of the deceased you are looking at the transportation not the real person, that person has moved on. She feels her job now is to no longer grieve, but to help Amy deal with her own grieving process.
Act 3 begins with our couple from Act 1 on their first date trying to get to know one another then the act will change direction delve into the possible end of a long relationship of another couple. Enter David, played by veteran actor Eric Poppick. Eric is lost in the anxiety of ending his marriage, to Ruth, whom we met in Act 1. Ruth is played by Jill Drexler, the Artistic Director of Scripps Rand Theatre. Eric rants about what he doesn’t like about his wife, her unawareness of time being at the top of the list. He speaks directly to the audience and occasionally asks them a question or two. He is at a restaurant to meet with Ruth and exchange divorce papers. One interesting statement concerns the end of things, “when you get older you begin to do things for the last time”. Enter Ruth, who also speaks to the audience and rants about what she doesn’t like about David. Top on her list is the lack of kissing and the fact that he was once a gentleman in the beginning. As they go back and forth, the waitress explodes. We find out she is their daughter. Julie Clemmons, as daughter Jamie, lets both David and Ruth have it, telling them they are meant to be together and to work it out. For one moment, Eric does remanence that T.V. is important in a marriage, for “the comfort of it”. David and Ruth have some decisions to make before they ends things and as they leave the restaurant and Eric says they have become “an acquired taste”.
Act 4 is the most interesting and unusual of the acts. This involves a man, new to the down on your luck world and newly homeless, Alfred. Alfred seems to be lost in the stars, recently losing his Santa job at the Mall. Alfred runs into Eloise, a well-established, very possessive homeless person, who we meet earlier. They each talk about the plight of the homeless – “we have no identity”, “we do not exist”, “we are ghosts”, “no one looks at you”, and “we are a hole in the fabric of society”. Alfred finds a large refrigerator box to call home which leads to another discussion about being lost “in the fabric of society”, that being not able to vote unless you have a place of residence. Each cling tightly to bits and pieces of things they have accumulated. The fridge box is considered by Alfred and Eloise as a possible place of residence. A more somber tone takes a turn when, for a moment, Eloise loses Alfred. He has taken refuge in the box. She will find him both physically and emotionally. Eloise is played by Julie Clemmons and Alfred is played by Paul Morgavo and they both handle these difficult roles with great believability.
It is important that this play takes place around the Christmas/Hanukkah time, a time when many people do feel left out, abandoned, alone. Relationships are important at any time of year. This simple play uses a variety of examples to show this importance, using humor, satire, sadness and other emotions to point this out.
“The Season of Love” is directed by John Tessmer, making his SRT directorial debut. Costume Designer Dawn Fuller-Korinek, Lighting Designer Mitchell Simkovsky, Stage Manager Bill Ulbrich, Production Manager Christine Hewitt, Sound Designer Violet Ceja and Scenic Designer Bob Shuttleworth all assisted in the production of the play.
“The Season of Love” will play at Scripps Ranch Theatre in the Legler Benbough Theatre on the Alliant International University campus until December 10th. Tickets can be purchased at 858-578-7728 or go to www.scrippsranchtheatre.com . Next up for SRT is “Outside Mullingar” beginning on January 19th.