Friday, June 4, 2010

Becky's New Car by Steven Dietz, Zach Theatre, June 3 - July 11

Zach's post card calls it "A Revved-up Comic Adventure!"

The website is even more breathless, promising

"[a] life-affirming comedy about an eccentric millionaire who offers Becky the keys to a brand new life [in][. . . . ] a fantastically funny exploration about class, wealth and selling out during Becky's wild ride through a clever twist of events. Huge laughs, hairpin plot turns and a story with the pedal to the metal. Buckle up!"

Lauren Lane in Becky's New Car (photo: Kirk R. Tuck) So when we got a last-minute, unexpected chance to attend a dress rehearsal of Becky's New Car at the Zach, we couldn't resist. We even dressed up a bit, only to find ourselves well splashed by the Wednesday night downpour by the time we got to the theatre.

The house was relatively sparse, as you can see in these photos taken that same evening by Kirk R. Tuck. Playwright and Director Steven Dietz welcomed us but cautioned us that in this dress rehearsal they might at any time stop for adjustments or even decide to re-run scenes. That did not happen, but we were aware of Dietz and assistant director Courtney Sale sitting in rear rows and intently making notes.

Just as well. The web-blurb rode the car metaphor too far and promised more than the work-in-progress delivered that evening.

Lauren Lane is warm and endearing in her role as 40-something working mom Becky Foster. Playwright Dietz sets her up to win our hearts by granting her permission to talk directly with audience members. She's gracious and friendly, with a vague, lost air as she moves around the Whisenhut's intimate theatre in the round. When we first see her, she is picking up after her 26-year-old unemployed stay-at-home student son and her husband Joe the roofer. Most of the stage serves as her suburban home, with the desk in the southeast representing her job -- bookkeeper to a car dealership. Dietz gives her apparent command of the lights and staging, so that she can shuttle from one locale to the other at will.

Read more at . . . .

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