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Coming Apart

a Comedy
by Fred Carmichael

COMPANY : Centerstage North Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : The Art Place - Mountain View
ID# 5029

SHOWING : February 10, 2017 - February 25, 2017



From the author of "Exit the Body" and "Out of Sight . . . Out of Murder" comes a funny, refreshing and delightful romantic comedy which opens with the Kittridges saying simultaneously, “I want a divorce!” Both are conceited and rightly so: Colin is a successful humor columnist and Frances an equally successful romance novelist. There is rivalry between them and although they are still in love, each is too stubborn to give an inch. Stage right features an area into which they wander to play other scenes and other times. Here hilarious differences emerge as each remembers a different version of their meeting and the marriage proposal and each pictures a different future. They confide in Sylvia, their mutual agent, and in Bert, a financier who hears Colin’s troubles at the club. The Kittridges played matchmaker for this couple whose help only complicates matters. Frances and Colin’s attempts to divide their belongings as they continue to live in the same apartment for a six month waiting period are paralleled in a book Frances is writing called ‘How to Survive a Marriage’. Startling revelations bring about a warm and mirthful happy ending.

Director Calvin Wickham
Sylvia Cheryl Baer
Bert Jerry Jobe
Colin Brad Rudy
Fran Ginny Slifcak
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


Falling to Pieces
by playgoer
Monday, February 13, 2017
It can only get better. On opening night, Centerstage North’s "Coming Apart" lacked pace and line stumbles predominated. Add in a lack of chemistry and a lack of nuance, factor in distracting music underscoring and late light cues (notably audience lights at intermission), and you end up with a performance everyone might have wished was an initial run-through.

The plot, such as it is, concerns a married pair of two equally successful writers who both blurt out "I want a divorce" at the same time. Neither can believe the other expressed such a sentiment. As they go through a six-month waiting period before proceeding with the divorce, they re-examine salient moments of their relationship. This is a comedy, and a happy ending is assured.

The set is lovely, with a living room stage left, an agent’s office stage right, and a location center stage that is used for bar and picnic scenes. John Lisle’s lighting cues are designed (somewhat clumsily) to follow actors as they transition from one side of the stage to the other, with direct address to the audience the norm as they enter the central space.

Addressing the audience directly is problematic in the production. It’s understandable when lights change for extended monologues or when conversation is peppered with asides. That’s not how they’re introduced in the production. The first couple of times in the show (and several times thereafter), the effect is jarring when lines that would otherwise appear to be part of the conversation are directed straight downstage. With no accompanying light change, it seems very stagey and strange.

The show has scenes repeated from two different perspectives (those of Fran and Colin, the couple headed toward divorce). These repeated scenes are also problematic. The actress playing Fran (Ginny Slifcak) shows different personality traits in the scenes NOT from her perspective, but the actor playing Colin (Brad Rudy) doesn’t manage to do so, or at least not convincingly. That makes the repetition boring rather than charming.

Jerry Jobe and Cheryl Baer play smaller roles that don’t call for much range. Ms. Baer plays a supportive writer’s agent and Mr. Jobe plays a tippling friend. They are thrown together into a largely offstage relationship for purposes of the plot. They’re generally fine in their roles, but on opening night shared the overriding sense of tentativeness that overwhelmed the show.

Director Calvin Wickham has to take major responsibility for the state of the show on opening night. It seemed under-rehearsed, and he doesn’t seem to have inspired his cast to create fully formed characters. Mr. Rudy in particular plays his role of a humor columnist with an unrelievedly over-the-top boisterousness that becomes grating. The cast gives the impression that they have been placed in the hands of a director who has let them down on all counts. Perhaps as the run continues they will get a better feel of their characters and relationships. It can only get better. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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