Saturday, June 16, 2012

Becky's New Car

Donna and I watched Becky's New Car at Angelo Civic Theater a few nights ago. It was a witty and clever comedy, and the performances by the actors/actresses were quite good.

Becky's New Car, written by Steven Dietz, follows the chance happenings of Becky Foster, a middle-aged woman who realizes that, at least for the duration of the play, she wants a new life, which is symbolized by a new car. Her 26-year old son is a professional student living in her basement, and he contributes nothing to the household. Her husband, although a good man, is caught in the routine of middle-aged life and is content with its trappings. Longing to flee her mundane existence, her yearning is awakened by an elderly man who happens into the car dealership where she works.Caught up in events, she begins living a double-life, unaware that her two lives are more connected that she realizes.

I found the dialogue to be very clever. But two unique features of the play really stand out.

From the very beginning, the protagonist, Becky Foster, interacts with the audience. Initially, she talks to the audience much like the Stage Manager in Thornton Wilder's Our Town. As the play progresses, she does more than talk to the audience -- she actually interacts with them. Several times during the play, for example, audience members were invited onto the stage to help Becky. Depending on the audience, such interactions can be quite amusing.

The stage design was also interesting. There are 4 settings for the play: Becky's car, her cubicle at work, her living room, and the terrace at the home of an acquaintance. What makes the setting unique is that all 4 settings are on stage simultaneously. Spot lights trained on each set show where the action is. Humor arises when Becky directs theater personnel where to train the lights.

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