Romance in the Air: Eddie Kaye Thomas, Deborah Ann Woll and Richard Schiff Star in Parfumerie

By Evan Henerson
08 Dec 2013

"I think some of the great stories ever told are about people hanging onto an old world as a new world is invading their lives," said Schiff. "'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' comes to mind. You have an old school Western and old West gangsters and robbers using new world technology to track and trace them. David Mamet wrote Glengary Glen Ross at a time when America began to build its economy based on selling nothing."

Further spicing up the Parfumerie stew is the fact that Hammerschmidt is weighed down by suspicions of his wife's infidelity, potentially with one of his store employees.

"The depth of feeling in the material caught me by surprise," said Brokaw. "Mr. Hammerschmidt is going through a rough patch and really the story is about everybody finding their family and how everyone who works at the shop learns to appreciate each other even more as they pull together for this man."

"We talked in the rehearsal room about this being a time before irony," added Woll. "So much of today's entertainment comes with a wink or judgment or criticism of some kind. This takes place in a dark and difficult time. Despite that, these are people who genuinely love one and other care about their jobs and their family. They care about things like true love."

Parfumerie breaks the seal on the Wallis, the first performing arts complex to be built in Beverly Hills. Spanning a city block, the Wallis has two performance spaces — the 150 seat Lovelace Studio Theater and the 500 seat Goldsmith Theater — as well as a theatre school, a cafe and gift shop. The Parfumerie company gives an early thumbs-up to the working conditions at the Goldsmith with Woll reporting that her fellow cast members were positively giggling at the generous amount of backstage space.

"Normally backstage it's a little tight," she said. "The amenities here are incredible, the set is stunning and we're able to do it without microphones. The acoustics are that good."

Accompanying the performance is a lobby exhibition detailing the history of perfume: "Timeless Scents: 1370-2013" curated by Chandler Burr. But aromatic verisimilitude won't be part of the production. The cast will handle mixtures, but not concoct them.

"No," said Brokaw. "Too many people might be allergic."