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Same Time, Next Year

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Sensational Season 6Nine performances of Same Time, Next Year come to the Lab Theater on March 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27 and 28. This charming romantic comedy tells the story of two people, married to others, who meet for a romantic tryst once a year for 24 years. They develop an emotional intimacy, share their lives and react to the social changes in America. In this section, you will find articles about the play, playwright, director and upcoming production of the show at the Laboratory Theater of Florida (posted in date order from oldest to latest). Individual and season tickets are available on www.brownpapertickets.com by clicking HERE.

 

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Tammy Richardson brings empathy and understanding to role of Doris in ‘Same Time, Next Year’ (03-15-15)

Tammy 05LOn stage now through March 28 at Laboratory Theater is Bernard Slade’s Same Time, Next Year starring James Recca as George, an incomprehensibly whiny accountant, and Tammy Richardson as Doris, an ingénue stay-at-home mom, who meet at a romantic inn in Northern California, have a one-night, and then meet every February for the next 24 years to rekindle the flames and catch up on each other’s complicated lives.

“I find the idea that two people would get together like that over such a long period of time so George and Doris 04Lintriguing,” confides Richardson, who cops to having watched the movie at least 30 times. “Although the play doesn’t delve into it, their lives early on were pretty ordinary and this gave them something to look forward to each year.”

Richardson identifies with her character on multiple planes. “There was a period when I was so wrapped up in my kids that I lost track of who I was. So I understand what drives Doris. She wants to experience everything there is. She is open to absorbing the changes that are going on in society, like George and Doris 22ALthe hippie movement in the ‘60s. Every woman who gets married really young goes through that. Culture shapes these women. It clearly shapes Doris as she tries to discover who she is.”

A divorced mother of four who went back to school to complete her education, Richardson’s own life George and Doris 17lessons inform her performance in Same Time, Next Year. She brings an unmistakable and refreshing authenticity to the role. Her version of Doris is kind, sweet and compassionate (except, perhaps, during the scene in which she goes into labor during one of her trysts with George). Even as an agitated and somewhat over-the-top Haight-Ashbury hippie chick, Richardson’s Doris remains Tammy 15Lserene and grounded, which only serves to enhance the audience’s experience of her emotional reaction to George’s blurted news that his son, Mike, had been killed helping evacuate refugees in Vietnam.

“I even cried during rehearsal when we  would do that scene,” Tammy says quietly of her evocative performance during that scene on stage.

And it is that sensitivity that not only makes the audience cry along with her, but give a damn about what happens to her throughout the episodes that Slade strings together in his George and Doris 34subservience to Joseph Campbell’s formulaic theatrical device that postulates that a character go through a growth arc or journey in which she goes from limited awareness of a problem or character flaw (for example, Doris’ lack of education, life experience and naivete), to committing to and experimenting with change (such as her hippie period followed by going into business), to dealing Tammy 18with the consequences of change and recommitting herself for one last big change at the end of the story. You see, the challenge faced by Richardson and director Scott Carpenter was to make Doris a living, breathing person that we care about and can identify with rather than the cardboard cutout that Slade creates in his stilted script. And by virtue of her empathy for Doris and Tammy 21Linnate understanding of her situation, Richardson infuses Doris with both frailty and strength, humor and seriousness, grace and resolve.

Ironically, Richardson’s Doris does not embark upon her character arc to learn who she is and what she values. These things she knows from the very start. Rather, Richardson’s version of Doris goes on a journey to, in the actress’ own words, “experience everything there is” and all that life has to offer.

Remarkably, because of her commitment to her own Tammy 01Lfour children, this is Richardson’s first role in a very long time. “I was thinking that I should take a smaller role as a first step, and I almost didn’t go to the audition for this part,” Tammy reveals. “But I’d told everyone on Facebook I was auditioning for the part and so I felt like I  had to follow through, and [director] Scott [Carpenter] made me feel really comfortable. He really put me at ease. I’m so grateful to  him and to [co-star] James [Recca] for their support and encouragement.”

George and Doris 39LAnd so should be the local theater community as Richardson is sure to please in future roles as well.

Six performances of Same Time, Next Year remain. See above for play dates, times and ticket information.

For more information, please call 239-218-0481.

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Talking with director Scott Carpenter about ‘Same Time, Next Year’ (03-07-15)

scott carpenterSame Time, Next Year opens at Lab Theater on March 13. I recently caught up with director Scott Carpenter to talk about the show.

TH:      What made you want to direct Same Time, Next Year?

SC:      I like romantic comedies and this is one of the best ever produced on Broadway. It’s very light. The humor is subtle and situational. The dialogue is so well written. It’s a great show.

TH:      In the play, George and Doris have a one-night stand and, even though they are married to other people, for the next 24 years they get together once a year for a romantic Cliff and Ernst 01weekend of sex, conversation and social commentary. Over what period of time does the action take place?

SC:      From 1951 to 1975. This was an especially turbulent period in American history. There was a lot going on:  Selma, Dr. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement; JFK’s, RFK’s and MLK’s assassinations; the Cold War, Cuban Missile Crisis and Vietnam; the hippie movement At the Party 04Land women’s liberation. It’s nostalgic in a way. That makes it relatable. And we get to see how all these things affect George and Doris. In the process, it will cause the audience to remember where they were in life and how these events also affected them.

TH:      As you know, filmmaker Richard Linklater shot Boyhood over the course of 12 years. You obviously don’t have that luxury, so how do you depict George and Doris aging over the 24 year timeframe spanned by the play?

Glen Roma RossSC:      When Same Time, Next Year starts, George and Doris are in their mid-20s, and as it ends, they are entering their 50s. James [Recca] and Tammy [Richardson] are actually both in their 40s, so our challenge was to make them look more youthful than they are right now. We do that mostly by dressing them in clothes from the years in which the action takes place, plus Tammy wears wigs that reflect the changing hair styles that were popular back then. Scott Carpenter Takes a BowThere really isn’t enough time between scenes to do much with make-up, although we do play period-appropriate music to help create the effect.

TH:      Recca strikes me as more a dramatic actor than a comedic one.

SC:      Then you’ll be pleasantly surprised. He’s able to do both drama and comedy, although he is Tom and Jerry 2more of a foil or straight man in this show. It’s Tammy who tends to have the funniest lines because her character is less educated and pretty naïve, at least at the start of the story.

TH:      Have you worked with Recca before?

SC:      He directed me in The Altruists and now I’m returning the favor by directing him in Same Time, Next Year. I love working with him.

TH:      I’m not familiar with Tammy Richardson. Is she new to the area?

At the Party 01LSC:      No, but she has been out of theater for quite some time raising her family. But her kids are teens now and her schedule is more flexible. So she’s returning to the stage, and she has really taken to the role.

Scott Carpenter was recently on the other side of At the Party 02the director’s chair in Lab Theater’s last production, Cabaret, in which he played Ernst Ludwig, the Nazi everyone loved to hate. Carpenter has a B.A. in Theatre from The William Paterson University and is a member of SAG/AFTRA. His directing credits include Jekyll & Hyde, the Musical, South Pacific, MAME, The Children’s Hour, An Actor’s Nightmare, Anywhere From Here, and Steel Magnolias. Acting roles at the Laboratory Theater include Ricky Roma in last season’s edgy blockbuster Glengarry Glen Ross, Ronald in The Altruists and George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff?, as well as Billy Flynn in CHICAGO, Don Lockwood in Singin’ in the Rain and Kenneth Talley, Jr. in Fifth of July.

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James Recca returns to Lab Theater as George in ‘Same Time, Next Year’ (03-03-15)

Curtain Call ReccaJames Recca is returning to the Laboratory Theater of Florida. He is tackling the role of George in Bernard Slade’s Same Time, Next Year, which opens March 13. One of the most successful plays in Broadway history (running for 1,453 performances), the play is a romantic comedy about a couple married to other people who have Recca and Fordsuch an intense albeit unlikely connection that following an uncharacteristic one-night stand they meet in the same Mendecino, California country inn for the next 24 years for a romantic weekend of sex and conversation in which they share their lives, develop incredible emotional intimacy and react to changes in the fabric of American culture, society and political life.

With a script that sparkles with delicious wit and betray1Asubtle humor, it’s the kind of part that seems tailor-made for an actor with Recca’s acting acumen, sensibilities and theatrical flair. He joins Tammy Richardson in the play after turning in a particularly strong performance opposite Pattie Ford and Greg Sofranko as the husband who’s wronged by his wife and best friend in Theatre Conspiracy’s production of Harold Pinter’s Cast 07Betrayal last October. Theatre Conspiracy patrons will also recall Recca from Intimate Exchanges, in which he starred opposite Annette Trossbach as Toby Teasedale and Lionel Heppelwich, and as the Russian spy in See How They Run.

He has previously enjoyed leads at Lab Theater in Amadeus (as Salieri), The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (in which he played Satan, the Court Same Time 01Bailiff and Simon the Zealot), Sweeney Todd (as Sweeney), Man of LaMancha (as Quixote), The Fantastiks and Little Shop of Horrors. He also directed The Altruists and Bob:  A Life in Five Acts for Lab Theater and Guys and Dolls, True West and Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in community theater in New York. Recca is a graduate of The American Musical and Dramatic Society.

Cast 02“I’ve worked closely with James in the past,” notes Same Time, Next Year director Scott Carpenter. “He directed me in The Altruists, and now I’m directing him here. He’s an extremely talented actor and we’re fortunate to have him star in this show.”

See above for play dates, times and ticket information.

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Footlights on ‘This Time, Next Year’ playwright and screenwriter Bernard Slade (03-02-15)

Same Time 01Next up at the Laboratory Theater of Florida is This Time, Next Year written by Canadian playwright and screenwriter Bernard Slade.

Slade began his career as an actor with the Garden Center Theater in Vineland, Ontario. In the mid-1960s, he relocated to Hollywood and began to work as a writer for television sitcoms, including Bewitched. When ABC gave him the opportunity to create a series, he devised Love on a Rooftop, similar in theme to Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park, about a young couple living in a windowless walk-up apartment with access to a rooftop with a view of San Francisco. The following year, Slade created The Flying Nun (adapted from Tere Rios’ book, The Fifteenth Pelican), with Sally Field as a young novice whose habit’s headgear enabled her to fly. He also was responsible for The Partridge Family, based on the real-life Cowsills, Bridget Loves Bernie, inspired by the play Abie’s Irish Rose, and Happy Days.

Slade returned to the theater in 1975 with his play Same Time, Next Year, about Doris (Tammy Richardson) and George (James Recca), a couple married to other people who have a one-night stand and return annually for the next 25 years for a deliriously happy weekend of sex and conversation in a quaint country inn in Northern California. That’s where  Doris is supposed to be on a retreat and George is supposed to be doing the accounts for an old friend. Neither of them have ever cheated on their spouses before, and they’re not really the kind of people who have frivolous flings, but from the jump, they really connect with each other. They can’t deny it. They don’t understand it. And it frightens them to death that they get each other so very, very well. Which causes their one-night stand to metamorphosis into a 25 year affair.

The play was a major hit and ran for 1453 performances. Slade received the Drama Desk Award and a Tony Award nomination for Best Play. Slade also received an Oscar-nomination for his screen adaptation of Same Time, Next Year.

In 1978, he followed Same Time, Next Year with Tribute, the story of a man who learns to love his father, a successful actor who always had more time for his theatrical cohorts than his son.

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Scott Carpenter to direct Lab Theater’s production of ‘Same Time, Next Year’ (11-17-14)

scott carpenterScott Carpenter will be directing the Laboratory Theater’s production of Same Time, Next Year. Carpenter has a B.A. in Theatre from The William Paterson University and is a member of SAG/AFTRA. His directing credits include Jekyll & Hyde, the Musical, South Pacific, MAME, The Children’s Hour, An Actor’s Nightmare, Anywhere From Here, and Steel Magnolias. Acting roles at the Laboratory Theater include Ricky Roma in last season’s edgy blockbuster Glengarry Glen Ross, Ronald in The Altruists and George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff?, as well as Billy Flynn in CHICAGO, Don Lockwood in Singin’ in the Rain and Kenneth Talley, Jr. in Fifth of July.

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