Whitefish Theatre Co. presents Noel Coward’s “Private Lives”
March 25, 2011
Beginning with a sneak preview April 7 and running for two weekends, Whitefish Theatre Co. is performing Noel Coward’s 1930’s comedy of love and bad manners “Private Lives.” Nancy Nei is directing a cast of five local actors (Matt Ford, Kim Krueger, Andrew Matulionis, Natalie Jackson, and Katie Nixon) in this superb three-act play.
“Private Lives” is one of the most sophisticated, entertaining plays ever written by one of the consummate writers in the English language. About five minutes into Coward’s brilliantly circular comedy, Elyot (Ford) tries unconvincingly to assuage his sweet, second wife Sybil’s fear (Jackson) that he may still love his first wife, Amanda (Krueger). Amanda happens to be occupying the next honeymoon suite with her new husband, Victor (Matulionis). Though the play is set during these two couples’ honeymoon fiascos in romantic Deauville, a French resort in Normandy, and later in Paris, the New York Observer sums it up well saying, “Noel Coward is about as erotic as Fred Astaire…The theme of Private Lives isn’t anything so [ill-mannered] as sex. Love, the impossibility of love, the frightful, fatiguing, infatuated strain of love, the hey-ho, if love were all of love, is Coward’s gold-embossed calling card.” Throw in an edgy French maid (played by Nixon) and you’ll feel you’ve not only taken a trip to Paris, but to the 1930s, accompanied by the grace, wit, and style of British mannerisms and humor.
“Period classics like ‘Private Lives’ continue to light up audiences, actors, and directors alike because, not only do they contain the fun and beauty of the English language, but the themes expressed remain so integral to our lives even after 80 years,” said Nancy Nei. “Writing that accomplishes this is really quite profound.” “Private Lives” was first produced in London in 1930 featuring Laurence Olivier, Noel Coward, Adrianne Allen, Gertrude Lawrence, and Everley Gregg. A Broadway production followed in 1931, and the play has been revived in the West End and six times on Broadway. The last Broadway revival in 2002 ran for 127 performances. Lonnie Porro, ably assisted by volunteer Marie Meckel, has created the stylishly sharp, period-piece costuming for the Whitefish production which will run for a total of 7 gorgeous performances at the O’Shaughnessy Center. Set design is by Mark Baumbach with construction assistance by Paul Jeremiassen and Dave Meehan. Production manager is Colin Arakaki.
Performance dates are April 8, 9, 15, 16 at 7:30pm, and April 10 and 17 at 4pm, with a sneak preview April 7 at 7:30pm. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, $8 for students, reserved seating. The show is suitable for all ages. Sneak preview is $8, at the door.
Show sponsors are Beth and Don Farris.
For further information or tickets, please visit www.whitefishtheatreco.org or call the Whitefish Theatre Co. at the O’Shaughnessy Center box office at 862-5371.