by Christopher Durang
Directed by Nathan Linders
February 1, 2, 8 and 9
Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday February 3
Sunday matinee 2:00 p.m.
Venables Theatre, Oliver
Adults: $23 in advance; $25 day of the show
Students (with ID): $14 in advance; $15 day of the show
Things are getting a little crazy in Oliver. In an old highways shed on Airport Street that members of community theatre troupe, SOAP Theatre, affectionately refer to as “Big Blue”, the cast and crew of Beyond Therapy are working hard putting on the finishing touches for opening night on February 1. In rehearsal since late 2018, they are almost ready to present a bold and controversial story of a strange, double love triangle.
Beyond Therapy was written by Christopher Durang in the late seventies and remains one of Durang’s most frequently-produced plays to this day. It opened off-Broadway with big names like Sigourney Weaver, and Stephen Collins. The success of the off-Broadway presentation led to a second run in the late spring of 1982, where David Hyde-Pierce made his stage debut.
The cast seem undaunted by the very big shoes they need to fill, and the air is alive with laughter and excitement on rehearsal nights as they are closing in on opening night. The story is set in 1977 New York, when therapist Charlotte Wallace (Diane Gludovatz) has encouraged her patient Bruce (Joel Browne,) despite being in a monogamous relationship, to place a personal ad which is answered by Prudence (Jenn MacNeil). Prudence is nonplussed by Bruce’s plan to keep his current lover, Bob (Craig Bjornson), in the garage while they marry and have children. The encounter is ill-fated and ends disastrously due to the couple’s incompatibility and Bruce’s rush to seek a premature commitment from the date he just met.
Bruce’s rush to commitment isn’t the only aspect of the story where we can apply the term ‘premature’. We soon learn of the dysfunctional relationship between Prudence and her therapist, Stewart (Trevor Leigh), whose shortcomings are exacerbated by his own insecurities and deep-seated jealousy of Prudence’s attention to Bruce.
With the table set, Bruce and Prudence meet again in a strange twist of fate. Their relationship warms, but what good can come of therapy when the therapists need more help than their patients? Can Bruce learn to find balance and reconcile his two lovers? Can Prudence learn to assert herself and escape the madness, or are they all Beyond Therapy?
Things come to a head in The Restaurant where the waiter Andrew (Tristan Duursma) never seems to show up.
Five performances are scheduled at Venables Theatre at 6100 Gala Street in Oliver. Curtain time is 7:30 pm on February 1st, 2nd, 8th and 9th, and a Sunday matinee will commence at 2 pm on February 3rd. Reserved tickets are available online at www.venablestheatre.ca. If you prefer to buy in person, the ticket office, located at 6100 Gala Street in Oliver, is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. You can also buy by phone at 250-498-1626 during the same office hours. Some tickets are also available at Your Dollar Store With More in Osoyoos. Purchase early for best selection and a discount from day-of-show prices.
Warning: Adult themes and strong language.