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Tokens of Affection

a Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY
by Topher Payne

COMPANY : Out of Box Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Artisan Resource Center
ID# 5468

SHOWING : March 15, 2019 - March 30, 2019

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Charlie is a software developer for video games; he lives alone and works from home, and he likes it that way. His parents, Frank and Jackie, live in Connecticut, as do his sister Claire and her husband Bruce. This is all a very good arrangement for Charlie. His parents, though, are in their early 60s and have reached a point in their marriage where they’re looking at it and each other and aren’t perhaps sure that this is what they want anymore. Frank shows up unexpectedly, suitcase in hand, at Charlie’s New York apartment; shortly afterward, Jackie shows up at Claire’s house, also trailing a suitcase, and the comedy follows the farcical efforts of the siblings to get the parents not only back together but out of their homes. Rita, Charlie’s across-the-hall neighbor, adds to much of the confusion and comedy, and the ending of the show is very sweet and ties up all sorts of loose ends.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Zip Rampy
Bruce Daniel Carter Brown
Charlie Matthew Busch
Jackie Mary Claire Klooster
Claire Emily Sams
Frank Bob Smith
Rita Emily Tyrybon
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REVIEWS

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Tokens of Love
by playgoer
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
5.0
Topher Payne’s "Tokens of Affection" has made the rounds in Atlanta from GET to CenterStage North and now to Out of Box. In its previous two iterations, the set encompassed two separate locations -- the New York City apartment of Charlie (Matthew Busch) and the kitchen of the Connecticut home occupied by Charlie’s sister Claire (Emily Sams Brown) and her husband Bruce Burnham (Daniel Carter Brown). At Out of Box, set designer Carolyn Choe has wisely chosen to omit the kitchen set, allowing the kitchen telephone conversations to occur next to the side exit door, with furtive glances out the door to suggest the presence of others. That allows the small stage to represent Charlie’s apartment, with front door up right and hallway to bedroom and bathroom up left. There’s a sofa down right, an efficiency kitchen and window centerstage, and a computer workstation down left. Open shelving scattered about gives the place a truly lived-in look. It’s a good-looking set and beautifully workable.

Bradley Rudy’s lighting design and Zip Rampy’s sound design don’t get much of a workout, but they still manage to impress -- the lighting with a TV effect at the end of the show and the sound design with "You Don’t Bring Me Flowers" on a scene transition. Costumes add to the visual appeal of the play.

Zip Rampy has directed the action to occur at a giddy pace, with tiny touches here and there that reverberate to increase the entertainment potential of the piece. He has coaxed delightful performances out of all six actors in the cast. Bob Smith and Mary Claire Klooster, as the parents of Charlie and Claire, show all the cluelessness a long-married couple can have to the dynamics of their relationship. The Browns (a real-life married couple) play oversized characters that would be caricatures in less skilled hands. Mr. Busch is unsurpassed in his slow burns as interruptions clutter his day as a work deadline looms. Emily Kalat is wondrous as neighbor Rita, a breezily friendly helpmeet to Charlie. They are nicely matched, with just enough of an age difference to be believable, without straining credulity in the last moments of the show.

When an entertaining comedy is performed in such an extraordinarily entertaining manner, ripples of laughter fill the audience from start to finish. Out of Box may be presenting what is the definitive version of "Tokens of Affection." It certainly is a joy to behold. Kudos to all! [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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