I met local, 25-year-old playwright Jenny Beres over coffee last week at Sarasota News & Books. (This was another interview; I’m not really that social.) Her first play, If the Devil Could Fall In Love,won the Players’ “The Play’s the Thing” contest. Another of her plays (she’s written three in the last year, which makes me feel excited and lazy all at once), Misery Loves Children, was being performed this week—at Home Resource, of all places, which has made a splash with its furniture-store-cum-indie-theater program (http://www.homeresource.com/events.php). Of course, they made that initial splash with Chekhov and Tennessee Williams plays. Jenny’s got herself on quite a list.
Misery Loves Children “opened” Tuesday evening. As Jenny described the Home Resource experience, people are standing around drinking their wine and the play just…starts, right there in front of them. How avant-garde. I asked her to reserve three tickets (even though, at $6.50, they hardly break the bank). I later discovered that Annie Morrison was one of the actors. The Broadway veteran did a few shows at the Asolo when I was younger, and I was always engaged by her attentiveness, her Celtic mysticism and her ability to convey alternative perspectives on everyday things. (She once asked me how I “saw” numbers when I counted in my head—whether they moved left to right, down to up, or however. I realized I see them moving left to right, but the numbers for television channels move right to left. I mean, as a 12-year-old kid, I was amazed an adult would talk to me about such things.)
After Pho, CCB and I met Copy Editor Megan in the Rosemary District a little before 7. Home Resource is a show in and of itself; style maven Megan wandered around the crowd snapping pictures at all the cool décor. When it came time to start the play, couches in the showroom were rearranged to face a bedroom display that doubled as the set—right down to track lighting that framed the performance.
In Misery Loves Children, an older woman and a younger man discover and discuss the dissolution of their romantic relationship. It’s quite funny—the jokes are set up well, and the clever turns of phrase are…actually clever, instead of cliché. Unfortunately, the lengthy exchange of quick jokes plows jarringly into the dramatic climax, but I suspect that’s a symptom of the production. The pacing needed a change of gears to accommodate the play. (I felt like stealing some of executive editor Kay Kipling’s theater critic fun, darn it.)
CCB and I lounge in our theater seats after the show.
And theater in a furniture store. On a Tuesday.