Stage Page – A Love Affair

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‘A Love Affair’ recounts roller coaster ride of a 38-year marriage

 Have you and your partner ever thought how nice it would be to go back and have a conversation with your younger selves that might be able to change the course of your lives together?  No doubt playwright Jerry Mayer, whose plays deal with the “ups, downs and sideways” of male/female relationships, must have wondered the same thing and created the comedy A LOVE AFFAIR to address the idea of one couple, at two different stages of their marriage, meeting in the midst of relationship upheaval when selling their family home and sorting through years of marriage mementos. Witty sexual innuendos abound as the business of aging is handled with great humor and understanding from both the youthful and more mature viewpoints.

Now onstage at the Santa Monica Playhouse in its encore run through March 25, director’s Chris DeCarlo’s “A Love Affair” is full of laughter and tears as it recounts the story of a marriage with its many peaks and valleys; a subtle statement about the difference between the sexes and the common ground that makes it possible for them to live together in comparative harmony.  It’s a hilarious and just-a-touch-racy comedy , from the romantic naiveté of a 1950s honeymoon, to the lovingly annoying daily life in the Coming-of-New Age ’90s.

The successes, the disappointments, the sex, the traumas, the traumas about sex, the budget, the children, and the adventure of casting your lot with another human being for life are brought into focuses, offering the audience a great opportunity to laugh at ourselves as well.

The play opens on a split-level set as the middle-aged Jimmy and Alice (John DeCarlor and his real-life wife Evelyn Rudie) are packing up their attic just prior to moving out due to a downturn in his employment status.  While at odds with each other about the move, they sort through boxes of cherished items and discuss why the particular bits and pieces of their past have been saved for so long. The scenes they describe are played out in the bedroom below by their younger selves (Jacob Cooper and Andrea Adnoff).

An old torn and worn-out Hawaiian shirt becomes the story of their honeymoon with enough emotional similarities, not to mention matching costumes designed by Ashley Hayes, displayed by both couples to make the fantasy more believable.

Of course, we also find out Jimmy had a few dalliances along the way, the most serious with his assistant Glo Frazier.  Along with that character, Rachel Galper also brilliantly transforms herself into many of the other people over the years in Jimmy and Alice’s life together including friends, therapists, financial advisors, motivational speakers, and the mover who shows up to orchestrate their exit.  Each location is enhanced by video projections created by set and lighting designer Eric Jon.

But it is the scenes between the two Jimmys or two Alices that are the most emotionally gripping in the play.  After all, wouldn’t you like to be able to go back and have a truthful heart-to-heart chat with yourself thirty years ago?  Imagine the advice you would share, and then wonder if you would be willing to accept it and change anything.  These honest and frank moments in the play no doubt resonate with audiences and should keep future performances sold out.  So be sure to order your tickets in advance!

The current extension of “A Love Affair” continues at the Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th St., Santa Monica, through  some dates already sold out.  General admission tickets are $35 (discounts available for students, seniors, military, and groups of 8 or more) and may be ordered by calling the Box Office at 310-394-9779 extension 1. For more information visit santamonicaplayhouse.com.

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