What does it take to finally tell the truth about your life? Maybe just a missed flight at Heathrow and a visit, airline hospitality bag in hand, to the Runway Lounge. Two couples, Gus and Sheila (not so worldly) and Max and Olivia (ever so worldly), meet over drinks that a bored waiter delivers to the others' table. The homebodies watch the planes but abhor the idea of going anywhere in one. Max and Olivia are deliciously snooty and live in New York, unless they're in a villa in Tuscany or the equivalent. Soon Gus and Sheila are uncharacteristically contemplating eating semolina-dredged zucchini blossoms. Olivia is craving some fish and chips and Max is declaring how much he actually detests his supposed friend Richard. Telling the truth is so much fun it may be worth missing the next flight out.
So went Thirsty Theater on Saturday night at the Tip Top Cafe in White River Junction, a pop-up 10-minute piece of comedy by Northern Stage. Written by Elizabeth Gordon, directed by Amanda Rafuse, starring Chris Flockton, Irene Green, John Griesemer, Jona Tuck, and Andy Ogrinc.
Saturday night was sold out. The reading of She Exits, Laughing occurred on the set for the world premiere of Trick or Treat, to open at Northern Stage on January 18.
She Exits, Laughing by playwright Marisa Smith was the weekend's second offering of Northern Stage's New Works Now, its annual festival of staged readings. Any daughter will recognize the dialogue between Alma, 70, and her 40-something child Julie. Any mother with adult children will understand the pain of having one's home invaded by a dictatorial daughter who can't stop managing her mother's life. It's particularly hard for Alma, who is hiding her ill health and the ravages of age and arthritis from everyone except her friend Winslow, who is willing to help her in ways that Julie will not. This play tells the truth about aging, a process that has room for humor but brings real pain, from which family and the medical establishment turn away. Smith's play Mad Love had its world premiere at Northern Stage two years ago. Keep an eye out and hope for a similar fate for She Exits, Laughing.
The third and final production of New Works Now, Piece Of, will be offered on Sunday, January 8 at 2:00 p.m. Admission is free but a reservation is needed. Call the Northern Stage Box Office at 802-296-7000.
Susan B. Apel, writer, ArtfulEdge