Story & photos by Rebecca Stone
For the TODAY
Thespians at Lincoln City’s Theatre West scale new heights to deliver the laughs in their latest production “Barefoot in the Park” by Paul Simon.
Corie and Paul Bratter have been married for just six days when they move into their tiny first New York apartment perched at the top of seemingly endless flights of stairs. Everyone who braves the ascent arrives breathless, and wearing an expression of disbelief. This is exemplified by the hapless phone installer played by Mallory Migliaccio, whose comic timing is dead on as she grapples with phone lines and angst.
The apartment itself becomes a character in this witty 1960s-vintage Neil Simon confection. The kitchen, dining room and living room are all contained in one tiny space. The bedroom is just barely big enough for a single bed, and the bathroom is minute. The oven doesn’t work, the apartment is constantly freezing and there’s a hole in the skylight.
In fact, says director and Theatre West veteran, Bryan Kirsch: “The set was the most challenging thing about this play, especially that skylight.”
But the apartment sets the stage, so to speak, for much of what happens in the play as the newly minted husband and wife come face-to-face — in close proximity — with their differences.
Corie, played by a sparkly Brandie Jurasin, is thrilled to have her own place — despite its shortcomings. Upbeat and adventuresome, Corie’s personality is a counterpoint to her husband’s more serious nature. Newcomer Ryan Bernal thoroughly inhabits the role of Paul, a fledgling attorney, striving for success in his first case. As he dutifully buries himself in his trial preparations, his spontaneous wife is still in honeymoon mode.
Corie befriends the apartment building’s version of “the most interesting man in the world.” Portrayed with a degree of sage worldliness by John Jeans, Victor Velasco is an eccentric adventurer, who, behind in his rent, routinely gains access to his apartment on the roof through the Bratters’ bedroom window.
When Corie’s mother, Ethel, a rather conventional New Jersey widow played by Ida Putansu in a dryly witty turn, survives the arduous climb to visit, her daughter decides to set her up on a blind date with Victor. Cautious Paul, however, thinks it’s a disaster in the making.
What follows is a classic mixture of misunderstandings, witty dialog and a quite literal cliffhanger, all of which makes “Barefoot in the Park” a worthy fourth installment in Theatre West’s ongoing Season of Simon.
“Barefoot in the Park” plays Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through Saturday, May 27, with curtain at 7:30 pm. A 2 pm matinée is offered on Sunday, May 21. Tickets are $15 for adults, $13 for seniors and students, and $10 for children 12 and under. Special group discounts and season tickets are also available. For tickets call 541-994-5663.
Theatre West is located at 3536 SE Hwy. 101, Lincoln City. For more information, go to www.theatrewest.com.