Real-Life Couple Brings Authentic Love to Stage

May 26, 2006

As performed by the Little Theatre Group, Bernard Slade’s “Same Time, Next Year” is a lively comedy about honesty, sex and the influence of cultural politics on private lives.

The drama is played out through two characters, George and Doris, who describe themselves as happily married to other people but develop a powerful relationship over the course of 25 annual one-night stands.

They meet every year from 1951 to 1975, and the scenes show every fifth meeting.

Each scene takes place in the same hotel room set, but a video projection between scenes brings the social and political currents of the contemporary United States into the play.

In each video, a song typical of that scene’s time period plays as bullets of historical information appear on the screen. The history lessons are followed by cultural context such as commercials and Academy Award-winning

movies.

Time passes, and as the nation changes dramatically, the hotel room becomes a haven where the characters can be honest with each other and themselves.

But even as the room remains essentially unchanged, it showcases the pervasive effects of social upheaval: each time the audience sees Tom Humes and Lisa DeFuso as George and Doris, the characters show the effects of a new mass movement.

Married offstage, Humes and DeFuso portray George and Doris with authentic awkwardness that turns to tenderness by the end of the play. They also keep up the play’s tempo with some fairly snappy dialogue.

And though the fictional couple DeFuso and Humes portray spends large chunks of time talking about honesty, the well-directed show stops short of being saccharine, and the plot has enough cleaver twists to keep it fun.

The Blanche Brown Theater, which occupies part of a converted house in the western San José suburb of Escazú, is cozy, and the show falls on the more professional end of the community-theater spectrum.

The video projections between scenes add depth and context to the story, though the visible operation of the projector detracts from the presentation’s polish.

“Same Time, Next Year” will be playing at the Blanche Brown Theater through this Sunday. Shows on Fridays and Saturdays begin at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday matinees start at 2:30 p.m.

For more information, call 355-1623 or visit www.littletheatregroup.org.

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