“Weekend Comedy”… Maybe, For Some

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It’s a great marker in the return to normalcy after a cataclysmic event to be confronted with the average or indifferent, it truly lets you know that life goes on. It is reassuring and even comforting to know after the loss of a loved one that you can still stub your toe or burn the toast and just get annoyed.

There was a great audience Friday night at Sand Lake Center for the Arts for the Opening Night of “Weekend Comedy” by Jeanne and Sam Bobrick Directed by Cheryl Charbonneau. We happily chatted with half a dozen old friends at this exceptionally warm and inviting community center in Averill Park whose last show was the thrilling “Pipeline.” Even more exciting, just as it turned eight o’clock a stream of a dozen loud, laughing, young people entered the theater. 

Joe Phillips & Jackie DeGiorgis
Photo by Joan Fuess

“Weekend Comedy” is about two New York City couples, one old and one young, who have been booked improbably into the same remote, two room wooded cabin over the same Labor Day weekend. It’s a generational battle with sex being a frequent topic that harks back to comedies of the ‘60s. Sam Bobrick, creator of “Saved by the Bell” wrote over 40 plays. One of his plays, “Lunch with Mrs. Baskin,” I admired very much when it was done at Lake George Dinner Theatre a couple of seasons ago.

I loved seeing Joe Phillips and Jackie DeGiorgis, two of the most accomplished actors of their generation, back onstage again. Joe attacks his role of Frank, a boorish, xenophobic bully with lines diminishing “foreigners cursing at you in their weird language” with great gusto. If he overdoes some of the bluster, you might forgive him and his director because there’s not much else going on. He’s our hero and these are the jokes, folks. Jackie plays the long-suffering wife with side-eye and audience takes that get frequent laughs.

Joe Frederick & Samantha Miorin
Photo by Joan Fuess

Jill and Tony are played by Samantha Miorin and Joe Frederick, both new to me and very welcome and comfortable onstage. Ms. Miorin is the steadiest presence and effortlessly became my preferred actor to return my eyes to as nonsense reigned elsewhere. Mr. Frederick does nicely by Tony and even has a highlight with a near breakdown late in the play when the playwright throws a heretofore never mentioned fear of marriage at the character in the 11th hour. That development is the entirety of the cast’s growth or change during the course of the show.

The attractive set was designed by the director, Chery Charbonneau, and built and dressed by Bob & Sharon Dawes, Lorraine Ferguson and Brian Sheldon. I especially liked the wood paneling. The ubiquitous Nicolas Nealon did the lighting design.

Joe Phillips, Joe Frederick & Samantha Miorin
Photo by Joan Fuess

“Weekend Comedy” is not a good play. Bad enough that it does not resemble any world that anyone lives in, it is unsatisfying in its own dishonest construction. The most interesting event of the premise, the agreement between the two couples that they will share the cabin for the weekend (with the young couple taking the bedroom and the older couple taking the pull-out!) happens during an extremely long scene change out of the audience’s experience, only to be relayed as a morning after story. Stay tuned, later there will be an offstage race in this long, uneventful comedy.

There are four immensely appealing actors backed up by a company of dozens of Circle Theatre Players participants listed in the program performing on an attractive set saying lines like “All you can do up here is eat or have sex…and I’m not hungry.” All I could do was weep for the waste. There was a large audience Friday night that laughed frequently and presumably had a great time.

Through 9/19

Tickets: www.slca-ctp.org

Jackie DeGiorgis, Joe Phillips, Joe Federick & Samantha Miorin
Photo by Joan Fuess
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