by Michèle Griskey
Special to the Sounder
Do opposites attract?
This is the premise of Neil Simon’s classic romantic comedy, “Barefoot in the Park.”
The play opens in a 5th-floor walk-up apartment on 48th Street in New York City. It’s a chilly February in 1963, and we meet Corie bustling about in a frenzy to make her new apartment a home. She is lively, spontaneous, and enjoys living in the moment. She is newly married to Paul, a serious young lawyer, who finds his new wife both charming and unpredictable. After meeting her neighbor upstairs, Victor, Corie schemes to introduce her mother, Ethel to Victor to possibly inspire romance.
Conflict arises as Paul and Corie argue over their differences, and Ethel struggles to keep up with Victor’s joie de vivre. The witty lines and excellent slapstick heighten the laughs. The timing is on with this crew! Danica Coffman has abundant energy and vivacity for her part as Corie. Kevin Hauschild has the dry wit and exasperation needed for Paul. Luann Pamatian takes on Ethel’s caution and devotion for her daughter with plenty of charm. Tony Lee plays Victor with enthusiasm and passion. Larry Hampel shows us that the Telephone repairman can also be a philosopher and a marriage counselor. Miguel Villarreal is hilarious as the Delivery man who needs to up his cardio. Doug Bechtel directs this play with an excellent understanding of how to make a comedy work, and this play will make you laugh.
As Bechtel notes in the program, the play is from another era, like rent in NYC for $125 a month! It’s also a tad difficult to watch Victor briefly harassing Corie, and Ethel giving her daughter traditional marriage advice. I suppose another way to look at it is to consider how far we’ve come. What’s important is the core of the play is timeless: How do we get along despite our differences? The witty banter, situations, and antics will bring much-needed laughs in these bleak wintery weeks before we can go barefoot in the park without numbing our toes.
Don’t miss the fun!
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. in the Grange. Remaining performances are Feb. 23, 24 and March 2, 3 and 4. Tickets are $10 at Darvill’s Book Store, www.orcasactors.org and at the door. This play is suitable for all ages.