‘Same Time, Next Year’ plays at the Lake Dillon Theatre
If you’re a fan of romance, comedy, nostalgia, or looking for a great date for your budding new springtime romance, you are not going to want to miss “Same Time, Next Year” – the latest production from the Lake Dillon Theatre Company. Directed by Joshua Blanchard and starring Kelly Ketzenbarger and Christopher Alleman, the hilarious story of a covert affair that spans two-and-a-half decades will run at the Lake Dillon Theatre every weekend thru April 4. The play opens in a hotel room in Northern California, where a brassiere, business shirt, tie and nylons are among the items visibly strewn across the room. George (Alleman), a CPA from New Jersey, is trying to free his arm from underneath Doris (Ketzenbarger), a California housewife he met the night before. Both are married with children, yet are completely infatuated with each other and agree to meet every year at the same hotel room. With each scene, the play advances another five years and the couple discusses their personal problems and successes back home while struggling with their own increasingly complex and emotional relationship. Written by Bernard Slade in 1975, “Same Time, Next Year” ran four years on Broadway and has become one of the most popular romantic comedies of the 20th century. It has been produced around the world, has won the Tony Award for Best Actress, and was nominated for Best Play. As the only two characters in the play, Ketzenbarger and Alleman’s portrayals of George and Doris are both intensely emotional and laugh-out-loud funny. In addition, they are able to flesh out characters that never actually appear in the story, namely George and Doris’s respective spouses and children. At one point, Doris even says that although she has never met George’s wife, Helen, she feels that they have become best friends, and the viewer easily shares her emotion. Although it isn’t always the same reaction, the audience can always feel the passion as the characters lay eyes on each other for the first time in a new scene. But don’t worry, those averse to love stories, a great laugh is sure to either directly precede or follow this moment. Director Blanchard says this mix will appeal to a very large audience, and that the small, intimate nature of the Lake Dillon Theatre will help the audience really connect with the characters. “The characters are tough,” says Alleman, “we have to show 25 years in 2 hours.” Ketzenbarger adds that the challenge is in, “finding the ways to show how the characters grow in five years.” This is where the play really shines. Although the setting never changes, some critical prop changes, musical cues from the radio between scenes, and excellent costumes from Meredith Murphy show the progression of years. Along with the problems of their relationship, the dialogue also handles the issues of the times, such as women’s liberation, changing social standards, and the Vietnam War. “Just like how the Vietnam War divided the country, it was able to divide our (characters’) relationship,” says Alleman. While performing, he likes to think about what was happening in those times, and thinks that older audience members will be able to relate to their dialogue. Also the producing art director, Alleman is confident “Same Time, Next Year” is going to be a huge seller, and advises people to get their tickets early. The first two Friday night performances have already sold out. “After all,” says Alleman, “who doesn’t love a live-action romantic comedy?”
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