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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 5, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 31
Alcohol helps fuel Adventures in Mating
Arts & Entertainment
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Alcohol helps fuel Adventures in Mating

by Miryam Gordon - SGN A&E Writer

Adventures in Mating
Theater Schmeater
Through August 20


Adventures in Mating has become almost a summer ritual at Theater Schmeater. This is the third year they have presented this blind-date skit with heavy audience interaction. Each production has had a different director and actors, so each one is different. This year's play is directed by Peggy Gannon and stars Teri Lazzara, Alexander Samuels, and Brandon Ryan.

The fundamental fun of the evening is in having Waiter (Ryan) stop the action onstage and get you, the audience, to vote on how the play continues. So, the first vote is on whether Jeffrey (Samuels) should order the red, white, or (new to this production) rosé wine. Waiter explains the periodic ringing of the bell to stop for a vote.

Ryan gives his personal twist to Waiter because he is so versatile in accents and tonality, he can sound pompous or silly as he cajoles the audience to vote, but warns that there are three different votes where someone can die. And if someone dies, then the play is over! This could be a very short evening!

The play has been newly revamped by the playwright, Joseph Scrimshaw, and the update has some pluses and minuses. On the plus side, there is actually more substance to the story. Previously, a lot of the laughs came from audacious joking, but little character development. This time, the characters have more background that's shared with the audience.

Another change is the opening of the production, which starts out like a real stage-play. Miranda (Lazzara) sits alone waiting for her date in a restaurant and starts talking to herself. Jeffrey enters and somehow fails to see her even though she's the only other person there. Once he determines she must be his blind date, he bumblingly introduces himself by declaring she's too pretty to be a blind date because she looks like a 'fantasy prostitute' - which actually ends up working to his advantage.

The prior production had Waiter start the show by explaining how things were going to work. If you've seen the show before, let me know which starting version you like better.

You might like to be one of the audience members who are chosen to 'act' a little as part of the evening. You get to go onstage and follow some simple directions from Waiter, and become part of the fun.

A plus to the revamp includes a real set of reasons why these two not-very-likable characters hang on to what seems like another nightmare blind-date. Miranda is getting older and turning into the stereotypical 'cat lady,' which she is relentlessly determined not to be. Jeffrey, too, has reasons why he sticks to trying to make the date work. Both of them make mistakes that imperil the evening.

In the last version, Miranda had a much bigger stick up her butt from the beginning and interviewed Jeffrey with checklists and pop quizzes. It was a funny sequence, but gave Jeffrey little reason to want to win her quizzes.

The audience interaction provides a new play every night, presumably. Ultimately, the show rests on Waiter. Ryan's quick-witted improvisations keep the surprises coming, since you never quite know what he's going to do. You can choose to interact with Waiter in many ways. Overall, a little alcoholic lubrication will make everything sound funnier.

For more information, call 206-324-5801 or go to www.schmeater.org.

Discuss your opinions with sgncritic@gmail.com.

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