Thursday’s have come to mean more than the day before Friday, or the day that the checks come in from clients. It has come to be so much more. I find it often brings opening night at a new venue with electricity seething through the air covering the audience and players alike. As for me, I get to meet new characters as they are brought to life on the stage by dedicated performers, visit new locations as unusual and imaginative tales are told.
This past Thursday provided another chance to see a first as I attended another opening night at the South Park Theatre where they presented Paul Elliott’s whimsical theatrics, Exit Laughing. The South Park Theater, as always, put up a class performance with comfortable seating, powerful settings, wonderful actors and a perfect selection of shows to perform.
Exit Laughing, a fitting name and a lesson we all know and should never forget. The story accounts the tale of four women, we have Connie, the boring mom as played by Mary Quinlan, Millie as portrayed by Lynne Martin-Huber who in many ways steals the show if not our hearts and laughs. Of course, we cannot forget the stripper Policeman Bobby, as played by Noah Zamamiri. The story needs a Leona, as depicted by Renee Ruzzi-Kern, a woman who refuses to face her fading beauty but hides instead within a glass of wine, and at last we have Connie’s daughter, Rachel, played by Katy Grant.
These five actors come together weaving chemistry, scripts, emotions, and conflict taking us on a journey of growth and change that dances like the Golden Girls, and makes a promise of adventures to come like Thelma and Louise (but minus the violence and climactic driving off of a cliff) and yet it leaves us hopeful that we remember to smile throughout it all as each day must be considered nothing but a gift to never forget.
The play unfolds as we are introduced to each actor as they come together for their weekly bridge game, but this time things are different. One of their friends, Mary has died and they mourn her passing. Millie, however, in her limited wisdom, decides to break into the funeral home on the way over and steals, or as she claims borrows, Mary’s urn filled with her ashes. The fun breaks out from there as Mary with her foresight had set into motion her plan to change lives.
The first phase of the show plays out with the arrival of Bobby, a stripper dressed like a Policeman, and the love interest of Connie’s daughter. Why a stripper you ask, and how does he figure into a plot of change? Why, simple of course, but you have to go see it all unfold. The subtle plans of the deceased Mary were all designed to make her friends, new and old think on the true meaning of their live. She wants them to dream and to live and that will be the message she sends from beyond the dark of death.
Each player on the stage has a message for the audience, from the simple Millie to the complex Bobby and the energy that they bring sets the audience to commotion. The stripper scene takes the show to places you would never expect, and Millie as she elaborates on the sexual encounters of her youth.
Exit Laughing will take you on a summer ride of fun and as always the South Park Theatre provides a setting and show to remember. Come and enjoy while it lasts and maybe take away a bit of the moral of the story and never forget to laugh.
Special thanks to the South Park Theatre for complimentary press tickets. Exit Laughing continues its run through August 29, for more information check out their website.
Performance Date: Thursday, August 13, 2015