Charles L. Mee, who has turned love upside down, backwards and sideways in his plays Big Love, First Love and Summertime, is back on the subject with his latest work, Wintertime. The comedy makes its world premiere Aug. 13-Sept. 15 at San Diego's La Jolla Playhouse with Les Waters, Big Love's helmer, directing. Opening night is Aug. 18.
Wintertime is fashioned like a farce — three couples accidentally run into each other at a secluded country inn, where more than one partner was planning on taking the air and doing a little cheating on the sly. Wife Maria was hoping to meet her lover, while her husband has brought along a boyfriend and her son has invited his fiancee. Pour into the mix a lesbian couple, a salesman-cum-deacon and a doctor who is sleeping with one of the three and comic chaos ensues.
Wintertime was orginally written as a companion piece to Summertime. The latter was set in and around a garden terrace, where the characters wandered in and out of a series of scenes, as each expresses and discovers his or her relations to the others while facing questions of sexual identity, beauty and other cultural norms. Summertime was workshopped at San Francisco's Magic Theatre in 1999 with a cast of disabled and non-disabled actors, in order to further debate American ideals of attractiveness and sexual desire.
Mee, a playwright, historian and editor, also penned Another Person is a Foreign Country, Trojan Women: A Love Story, The Berlin Circle (directed by Tina Landau), and Orestes. His recent Vienna: Lusthaus extended at New York Theatre Workshop, closing July 21.
Wintertime stars Obie Award winner Randy Danson (Mad Forest, NYSF's A Winter's Tale) as Maria, Francois Giroday as her lover, Nicholas Hormann (Making It) as her husband Frank, Tom Nelis as his lover, Daoud Heidami as Maria and Frank's son, Emily Donahoe as his fiancee, Lola Pashalinski (Broadway's Fortune's Fool) and Lauren Klein (Big Love) as the lesbian couple, Bruce McKenzie as the salesman and Michi Barall as the doctor. Designing the show are Anne Smart (sets), Christal Weatherly (costumes) and Robert Wierzel (lighting).
La Jolla Playhouse is located on the corner of La Jolla Village Drive and Torrey Pines Road. For tickets, call (858) 550-1010. La Jolla Playhouse is on the web at http://www.lajollaplayhouse.com.
— By Christine Ehren