The dark suburban comedy, The Smell of the Kill, a work that sprang from the Cleveland Play House's annual new plays festival, finishes up its world premiere production Feb. 7.
Previews began Jan. 12 for a Jan. 15 opening at the Play House's 508-seat Drury Theatre. Play House literary manager and resident director Scott Kanoff directs
Michele Lowe's comedy, the hit of the Play House's 1998 Next Stage Festival of New Plays, centers on three fortyish wives who bond over a kitchen sink -- and cocktails -- while their husbands smoke cigars and practice their putting in the living room. As the wives reveal their levels of marital unhappiness, an opportunity to end it all arises.
"Dialogue fascinates me," said Lowe in production notes. "People swear they know my characters. A man once asked, 'How do you know my wife?' It's because I lift the words from real life. I'll be at a restaurant having dinner with my husband, but I'm intently listening to a couple's conversation nearby."
Designers are Linda Buchanan (set), Claudia Stephens (costumes), Richard Winkler (lighting) and Robin Heath (sound). Playwright Lowe wrote book and lyrics forHit the Lights!, a musical commissioned by Robert Moss in 1990 for the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, NY. Lowe is also film and TV screenwriter, who has written for the decidedly non-adult series, "Little Bear," based on Maurice Sendak characters, on Nickelodeon.
The Smell of the Kill was nominated by Portland Stage Company for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize in 1996 and has received readings at Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan Theatre Club, Long Wharf Theatre and elsewhere. Lowe's Backsliding in the Promised Land was nominated for the Blackburn by Syracuse Stage in 1998.
The Play House's Next Stage Festival of New Plays was founded four years ago by artistic director Peter Hackett. Playwrights from Cleveland and all over the country submit scripts to be workshopped and publicly read at the Play House.
Tickets to Smell of the Kill are $25-$38. The Play House is a four theatre complex at 8500 Euclid Ave. Call (216) 795-7000. Next up, starting Feb. 9, is Steve Martin's comedy, Picasso at the Lapin Agile.