Monday, April 21, 2003

Company Starts This Friday

It's been an interesting five weeks.

As some of my readers know (all 2-3 of you) I've been involved in the musical Company at the Oak Ridge Playhouse these last few weeks. I had intented to chronicle my experiences as rehearsals went along, but pesky things like a war intervened. In fact, that night after our third rehearsal was March 19 and I came home to find out about the "surgical strike" in Baghdad. Every night for the next couple of weeks I'd come out to my car after pretending I was someone else, somewhere else and turn on the radio expecting to hear our troops had been hit with mustard gas. Or New York had been nuked. It was sobering.

When we started, I figured this would be the "sense memory" that stays with me most regarding Gulf War II - doing this show. I also figured we'd also still be in the middle of conflict through this weekend and the next - which might have put a damper on the public's enthusiasm for lighthearted musicals, but that hasn't been the case.

The show itself is interesting: Robert is a confirmed 35-year-old bachelor, and one the evening of his 35th birthday, he attends/doesn't attend a surprise party thrown by five sets of married couples he hangs out with. Each couple has its own quirks and eccentricities, as shown by musical and comedic flashbacks that mirror Robert's struggle to come to grips with the decisions he's made on staying single. Combined with three girlfriends who offer their own commentary on his character, Robert eventually comes to a decision - sort of.

I'm playing Peter, half of one of the afore-mentioned couples. When Company was first produced in 1970, Peter barely had a bit part - only to mention that he and his wife had recently divorced and were now best pals. When the show was updated in the 1990's, a scene was added that raised the possibility that the reason the couple had divorced was because Peter discovered he was gay. It's a scene that has been controversial with purists over the years.

There's also a bit of onstage undressing between Robert and April, one of his girlfriends, during their date which I believe has been toned down a bit.

Anyway, the music is killer, the dialogue is great and if you're married, ever been married, or even are a confirmed bachelor/bachelorette I think you'll get a kick out it.

Shows are this Friday, Saturday and Sunday (4/25-27) and next Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (5/2-4) at 8:00. In addition there's a free "preview" show for our final dress rehearsal this Thursday the 24th - I'm not certain of the time. You can call the Oak Ridge Playhouse for tickets at 482-9999 or go to their website for info and directions.

UPDATE (04/16/04): Company webpage updated to reflect move to ORCP archives.

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