Tammy and I went to see a play Saturday night at the Stage Door Players in Dunwoody. The play is Blithe Spirit. Mary Sittler, who was in Beau Jest with me, and my friend Mark Grey were in this play. And by chance the director of Beau Jest, Lane Teilhaber also attended Saturday’s show.
As you may recall, Jest a Second is the sequel to Beau Jest. Lane was hoping to do Jest a Second at Kudzu Playhouse, with the same cast as Beau Jest, and at the same time next season. Well it turns out that Kudzu does not want to do Just a Second.
The story of Beau Jest was that SARAH created a fake boyfriend to please her parents because, they did not approve of her real boyfriend. So in Jest a Second, JOEL, divorced parent of two, is afraid to introduce his significant other, RANDY to his parents. The impression is that RANDY is female when actually RANDY is JOEL’s boyfriend.
What Kudzu has an issue with is not the potential controversy, the same controversy Stage Door experienced with a homosexual relationship in Deathtrap just recently, but that it would not draw the audience or even chase away the audience when they call to find out what the play is about.
Well keep that a secret. Say something like: “Jest a Second, a sequel to Beau Jest. In Beau Jest, SARAH has problems and hilarious consequences over the issue of presenting her boyfriend to her parents. A year later, JOEL is faced the very same issue.”
See. Let the audience assume whatever they want. Jest a Second, like Beau Jest is about family and family relationships and not about sexual preference. And after seeing the play, I would hope the audience would see it the same way. It is a very good play and I hope one day to be able to be in it.
Friday’s Hecklers (March 11, 2005): Well not really. They were people from Sean’s office. Sean, a dentist, works at a second office one day a week. There female office staff came to the show and made comments out loud on everything. I was definitely an experience. As actors on stage, we must ignore everything the audience does except allowing time for laughter. I know if I were in the audience I would have been angry with this detractor. But I was told by friends that once involved in the story, the comments were not that noticeable.
Saturday: Eighty seats were reserved for that night’s performance with around 100 seats filled.
Sunday’s Sellout: On Friday night, we found out that Sunday’s performance would be a sellout. There were even 11 people on the waiting list.
Play Details and Photos
With around 100 seats filled the past two Saturdays, a sellout on Sunday, and 60+ averages for Friday shows, Kudzu has agreed to let us do Jest a Second this time next year. James Sherman’s Jest a Second is a sequel to Beau Jest which takes place one year later. BOB and SARAH are now married, BOB has become orthodox Jewish, SARAH is expecting and JOEL brings a secret out of the closet.
Opening night was Friday. We had a fair size audience (49) and great participation. The audience laughed at everything. Even at things the cast never considered. Even when JOEL and SARAH are having their serious argument, there was laughter. Even then, Amy and I were both thinking: “That’s not funny”. Overall it was great and the audience loved it. Lane was also very pleased. The cast on the other hand, had a few major traumas, which I hope the audience did not notice too much.
On Saturday night, the crowed was much larger (70-80). The cast had settled down from the night before and things went very smooth. The reception for the two nights was very favorable. Enough so that Lane is thinking of doing the sequel Jest A Second with the same cast.
Play Details and Photos