Interloper becomes play’s most memorable moment

The highlight at the opening of Good Medicine Theatre Company’s current "Same Time, Next Year" was the cleaning man.

The Winchester Cultural Center employee apparently didn’t know there was a play going on. About 20 minutes before the final curtain, he opened the door close to the stage, allowed the door to slam, and then looked at apparent astonishment at the audience. He stood there a moment, retreated, and again did nothing to prevent the door’s noisy closure.

A few seconds later, he re-entered, executed another slam, and began wheeling a trash bin to the backstage area. I expected to see him onstage sweeping the actors aside. But he quickly came back out without the bin, stared at the audience, and again exited, with the door slam providing a final flourish to his riveting performance.

It’s unfortunate that the Winchester’s disgraceful disrespect for what Good Medicine was trying to do was the most interesting thing going on.

Bernard Slade’s slight 1975 comedy about an adulterous couple who meet once a year in a hotel room can be an audience pleaser with top-notch actors. Ginger McCann and Chris Mayse are not them. Both overplay their roles and speak in such monotonous, over-rehearsed and over-cute tones that you want to flee their company a dozen lines into the production.

Susanna Brent directs with no apparent awareness of vocal variety, pacing, blocking or how to create recognizable human beings onstage.

Typical of the show’s ineptness is the projection on a glass door of the year in which the scene we’re watching takes place. The third figure of the year is blocked from view by a pane, so that "1951" becomes "19_1." It’s hard to believe no one involved in this production cared enough to notice.

Anthony Del Valle can be reached at DelValle@aol.com. You can write him c/o Las Vegas Review-Journal, P.O. Box 70, Las Vegas, NV 89125.

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