Same Time Next Year
By Bernard Slade
Classic Theatre Festival
Directed by Laurel Smith
Adultery has never been more respectable than it is in Same Time Next Year by Bernard Slade.
Written in 1975, the award-winning romantic comedy is as amusing and gently charming in 2017 as it was 42 years ago. Then, it was topical, as well as funny. Today, it is a period piece about social change, as well as being an appealing look at a relationship that begins as a one-night stand and evolves into an enduring connection.
As we drop in on Doris and George at five-year intervals from their first tryst at a rustic motel in Northern California in 1951 to annual repeat performances up to 1975, we see a kaleidoscope of transformation in the social order, in the individuals (whose developmental changes are never quite in sync) and in a relationship that matures and expresses a deep well of warmth and comfort over the years — just as a good marriage does.
The theme and structure have obvious weaknesses. If the connection between the lovers is strong enough to last for 25 years, it is highly unlikely that they will confine their meetings to one weekend a year. The need to give time for costume and prop changes between scenes also tends to break the mood.
Kudos then to the Classic Theatre Festival for overcoming these difficulties and delivering a warm production with an authentic feel both in terms of the chemistry between the two actors and in being true to each segment of the period covered.
As directed by Laurel Smith, this cohesive production features fine performances and great comic timing from Lana Sugarman as Doris and Scott Clarkson as George, enhanced by the quality of the technical aspects. As well as journeying with two ordinary people, who overcome their guilt at betraying their spouses one weekend a year, we learn about their marriages and their real lives.
Same Time Next Year, a delightful opener for this year’s Classic Theatre Festival — now eight years old — continues in Perth to July 16.
Director: Laurel Smith
Set: Roger Schultz
Costumes: Renate Seiler
Lighting: Wesley McKenzie
Sound: Matthew Behrens