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Life beyond beer and Ding Dongs

Kimberly Nicoletti

BRECKENRIDGE – Why is life like a Ding Dong?

Harry and Sam sit in a bar drinking a lot of beer, pondering this, and other deep mysteries.

Their dialogue initially sounds like something Monty Python wrote, then deepens to more serious questions, as Sam turns 30 and begins reviewing his life’s purpose. Both Sam and Harry have been beer-drinking, pool-playing, cigarette-smoking pals for the past 20 years. Now Sam is wondering if there’s more to life than beer and Ding Dongs.

“A lot of people go through a life that’s mundane, believing what their parents raised them with. They don’t look for meaning,” said director Melissa Amato.

Harry’s one of those people. He thinks going to bars and drinking beer is it. He doesn’t understand his wife, Marge, who wants more – after all, she has a house, a marriage – what else could a girl ask for?

Now, not only is Harry’s wife looking for more meaning, but his buddy Sam reads self-help and New Age books in the bar.

“They pose outlandish questions to each other, and these questions are how they rationalize life,” said Lee Sandblom, who plays Sam.

“They try to dispense their philosophy through 14 dialogues,” Sandblom said. “You can really get into what these guys are thinking.”

“You can be best friends with someone and not know who they are. You can go through life without knowing who you are,” Amato said. “You really need to get a sense of yourself. No one can really know you until you know who you are.”

As the dialogues unwind, both Harry and Sam come to know themselves, and each other, better.

“The value of friendship – that’s a big motif throughout the play,” Sandblom said.

“Men can completely understand what these guys are going through,” Sandblom said. “It pokes fun at men, and women can say, “Oh, that’s so true. My husband does the same thing.'”

Being a woman, Amato was hesitant to direct the play about two men’s experiences, but then she discovered Karen Ellison, a woman, wrote it.

“The guys say most of what they talk about is true,” Amato said.

As for why life is like a Ding Dong, Amato said, “You look at the Ding Dong, see the outer shell, and it’s something very different than what’s inside. A lot of people don’t take the time to get to know that inner filling.”

Tickets are $15 for adults, $8 for children – but the production contains adult material. For reservations, call the Backstage Theatre at (970) 453-0199.

Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at 970-668-3998 ext. 245 or by e-mail at

knicoletti@summitdaily.com.


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