by Larry Murray
SAME TIME, NEXT YEAR begins in 1950 and charts the relationship of two lovers, Doris and George, who meet once a year for 25 years for an extra-marital love affair. While undeniably sexual, the relationship was also much more than that, it is also the reunion of two old friends. In between these trysts, they neither see nor communicate with each other, reverting to their regular lives, marriages, spouses and children.
The play uses six of these visits, about five years apart to delineate the changes happening in American culture. It ends in 1975, a pivotal point in the transition between the old ways of communitarianism and the new individualism. No play has been better at capturing the ferment leading to the “me decade”. And while it is a wonderful touchstone of the mid 20th Century, when its treatment of unconventional love and contemporary life was new, the play can sometimes seem quite dated. Even these scenes however are capable of stirring up old memories, and there is a genuine simplicity to the storyline which is refreshing in these complicated times.
“You can tell the time has changed, honey, because the bed covers are different,” noted one nearby theatre-goer to her husband. And indeed, the changing of the bedcovers by a trio of maids and a housekeeper was accomplished with some clever choreography and funny business by director Kyle Fabel. He also kept the actors onstage busy pouring coffee, making drinks, getting dressed and undressed, or playing the piano, dashing into the bathroom, and at one point, diving out a window.