By Harry Haun
24 Feb 2014
"I generally only do Pulitzer Prize plays," announced Jeremy Shamos airily in mock archness. Of late, he has had quite a run of them, and, if the literary scuttlebutt comes true and Richard Greenberg does win his overdue Pulitzer for The Assembled Parties, that'll make an unprecedented, unbroken run of four Pulitzer Prize opuses-in-a-row for Shamos.
"And then," said the actor, pretending to get giddy on all that reflected glory, "I would actually be able to keep up my streak of only doing Pulitzer Prize plays, and every playwright would want me for their plays so they could win one for themselves."
Gabe & Karen & Tom & Beth are, thankfully, not the toxic tag-team match that George & Martha & Nick & Honey were, but a single divorce among them splits them up into four distinctly different directions. Gabe (Shamos) and Karen (Marin Hinkle) feel guilt for matchmaking Tom (Darren Pettie) and Beth (Heather Burns) into marriage and going into happily-ever-aftering with them, spending inseparable summers and dinners together.
"Even though it's a play about marriage, I feel it's more about friendship and what friendships are based on," contended Shamos. "Sometimes, they're based on trying to have the same experience — only people don't have the same experience, so they grow apart.
"I like all the characters here, actually — and I think that's the strength of this play. My guy has a moral center I like. He's not preachy — just very honest about friendship and loyalty."
As half of the couple that stays afloat, Shamos rates his "a good marriage — probably not a great marriage, but a good marriage — and maybe after the play it will get better. Ours is a relatively healthy marriage, the sort people will recognize. We tend not to talk too deeply about things, for fear of upsetting the apple cart. The play brings that up because the other couple has completely upset their apple cart, and it's a question of whether we're going to go in that direction or whether we're just going to stay comfortable with each other."Continued...