“It's personal...Some of it is true”
Local playwright Susan J. Westfall includes the above comments in her Playwright's Notes in the program for her world premiere piece now on stage at the New Theater. Such an invitation to speculate in this story of middle-aged couples and their failing marriages. But gossip aside, there's the mixed truth of long-term relationships on display here.
Two Weekends and a Day is a two and a half hour saga. Melinda (Barbara Sloan) is unhappily married to endlessly forgiving Jonathan (R. Kent Wilson), and still sighs for her almost college boyfriend Billy (Clinton Archambault) who married the presently dying Gina (Evelyn Perez). The two couples meet every Labor Day weekend at the beach side home of Melinda and Jonathan. Then Gina dies and Billy brings his new love, Rebecca (Susie Kreitman Taylor) to the next weekend event. In and out throughout the play is Kim Ostrenko playing both Dr. Bishop who specializes in holistic treatments and Jonathan and Melinda's widow lady neighbor, Mrs. Tinoco, who lusts after Jonathan.
There's a lot going on in this piece: death from cancer, death from falling off a ladder, adultery, anti-semitism, railing at holistic medicine, long suffering husbands, wandering wives, and just about every emotional button available for pushing. And all this is talked about, over and over, with characters telling other characters things they already know. Exposition has Two Weekends and a Day in a death grip.
Stephen E. Davis' set with its two well designed and built structures features Billy and Gina's wooden deck and Jonathan and Melinda's porch. Screaming sea gulls, crashing waves at the shore and suicide inducing elevator music are from Anton Church. Lighting by Eric Nelson and costumes by Peter Novello.
New Theater does well with its commitment to new plays but this is not an inspired offering with its uncaught inconsistencies in the script and its dubious casting.
Ricky J. Martinez directed.
Playing through Dec. 13 at New Theater, South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, 10950 SW 211 Street, Cutler Bay. 786-573-5300 www.new-theater.org