Saturday, the Surry Arts Players will present Neil Simon’s Chapter Two at the Andy Griffith Playhouse at 7:30 p.m. The cost is $10.
A simple cast of four will recreate the entertaining comedy which follows a widowed writer who has given up on love, until he meets his match in an attractive actress. Brack Llewellyn directs this play, based on playwright Neil Simon’s own life.
“It’s been a great challenge for all us,” Llewellyn said. “A good playwright challenges the actors, audience and director, not out of meanness, but to make them accomplish the goal of the script, it makes the actors rise to the occasion. It’s been a challenge, but a bit of discovery as well, the cast found things they didn’t think they could. They really have brought this play to a new level, I’ve a got a great crew.”
The play stars Zack Freeman as the main character George, Jennifer Freeman as his love interest, Jenni and includes Joey Marion as his brother Leo and Heather Elliott as Faye, Leo’s love interest.
Llewellyn said he opted to keep the play in its original form and keep the setting in the era in which the play was originally written—the 1970s.
“The setting is in the 70s. I wanted to leave it in the era in which it was written,” he said. “We are using 70s music to help bridge scenes, and you’ll see a lot of bell bottoms and plaid pants on stage.”
“Rather than change the cultural references, we trust the audience to be a part of the show,” he continued. “It will be a fun kind of nostalgic trip to hear some of the music and see some of the clothing. It think the audience will understand this is new York in 1977 instead of New York 2009.”
Llewellyn said that Chapter 2 is one of Simon’s best works, and it’s a piece that transcends generations.
“Neil Simon writes smart, witty comedies. (His) characters talk the way we wish we could talk, they know exactly how to express themselves,” he said. “Even though it’s a comedy there are moments that are very serious, but it still ends happily of course because it’s a comedy. One minute it’s a pure comedy, one minute it’s dealing with something that makes you want to cry. This cast has really risen to the occasion for this play.”
The play is a full-length comedy that will run a little more than two hours and has a series of short scenes and two acts.
“It takes place inside two apartments, side by side on stage with only a cast of four,” Llewellyn said. “One of Simon’s trademarks is a small cast, he doesn’t deal in large numbers.”
Chapter 2 follows George, who is dealing with the unexpected loss of his wife. His friends try to set him with various women, but none of them strike a chord with him until he meets Jenni, an actress. The romance between the two blossoms, but not without conflict. George is facing a roadblock, his deceased wife is still on his mind. In the subplot, George’s brother, Leo, has an affair with Jenni’s best friend Faye, who is an unhappily married woman.
Llewellyn said the play does include some adult language and subject matter and recommends that only those 16 and older see it.
“We tell folks that Simon writes for grown-ups. We’re not recommending the show for anyone under 16,” he said. “This is one of his better works and it’s well worth it to check it out.”
The play will debut Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Andy Griffith Playhouse and continue throughout the rest of the summer at various times.
For more information visit www.surryarts.org or call the Surry Arts Council at 786-7998.
Contact Erin C. Perkins at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952.