The season of joy and cheer is upon us and Pennsylvania
Playhouse is staging a holiday-themed play that might surprise you.
Think of your most hectic, unpleasant Christmas Eve memories,
compound them and watch three couples as they live through
disastrous events leading up to the holiday celebration. I say
"disastrous" because, for each of the couples, dismay and confusion
occur during one of three successive years and in one of three
Disasters aside, the play is very funny as it weaves through
the couples' ups and downs, prosperity and poverty, trouble and
happiness. The struggling Hopcrofts, played by Douglas Rau and
Rebecca Wenhold, gain everyone's sympathy as their modest home
becomes a place of ridicule from the architect and banker and their
wives. It's funny how prosperity and independence prove fickle and
circumstances twist unexpectedly as status and security change
dramatically throughout the performance.
The comedy closely parallels the current economic situation
facing our nation and world, curiously for a play written years ago.
Good financial fortune seems elusive and affluence can suddenly
disappears from the portfolios of even the most privileged and rich
people. Quality of life can change in a split second when wealth and
position are measured strictly by dollars and cents.
The kitchen sets are interesting and work very well with the
action. The three different kitchens of the couples, each indicative
of their affluence, or lack of it, are arranged in a pie graph
configuration with each act and set dividing the pie in thirds. Two
stage crew members swivel the "pie" and arrange the furnishings and
other props quickly and efficiently. It was so impressive that the
audience applauded for the stage crew as the transformations were
completed between acts. Ralph Montesano designed the versatile set
with flair. The practicality and workability of the scenes is
Director Gary Boyer makes his directorial debut at Pennsylvania
Playhouse with "Absurd Person Singular." With the help of a
competent cast, amazing stage and set and a reputation of the
theater's outstanding professionalism, Boyer has already made his
mark by developing the show on the stage. It would be nice to see
more direction talent from him in the future.
For a unique, surprising look at the holiday season from
another viewpoint, plan to see "Absurd Person Singular" at the
Pennsylvania Playhouse in Bethlehem. Remaining dates are Dec. 12,
13, 14, 19, 20 and 21. The venue is conveniently located just
minutes from Lehigh International Airport. The event could be
combined with a cruise through Bethlehem's beautiful streets for a
lovely look at thousands of tiny white holiday lights and
decorations. Call 610.865.6665 for reservations. Tickets are $20
with discounts for seniors and students.