The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Jun. 12, 2021

Review: New VWCT comedy insightful

STAN SHEEHAN/for the Van Wert independent

Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living. Frank Jackson, played by Larry Keltner, the hero of Van Wert Civic Theatre’s production of Weekend Comedy, would not agree with the Greek philosopher. Frank is a self-made man someplace in the midst of accelerating middle age who is quite content with a solid, predictable life. Peggy, his wife of 23 years played by Jewell Kurtz, books a cabin for a three-day weekend for a change .. for romance … for a chance to examine their relationship.  A complication arises when another couple arrives who has booked the same cabin — for the same weekend.

Peggy Jackson (Jewell Kurtz) and her husband, Frank (Larry Keltner) have a discussion during the new VWCT play "Weekend Comedy," which runs through March 24. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

In contrast to Frank and Peggy’s near silver anniversary marriage, Jill, played by Angi Robbins Lane, and Tony, played by Chris Burkheimer, are returning to the cabin to celebrate an anniversary marking three years of unwedded bliss. Jill and Tony are a globetrotting couple that choose to return to the remote cabin instead of other, more exotic places like Paris, Sri Lanka, or Mexico.  In contrast to Frank’s matter of fact approach to life, Tony readily admits to examining himself with the help of a therapist. He volunteers an analysis of Frank that Frank does not appreciate.  A mixture of embarrassment and alcohol results in both couples remaining at the cabin for the weekend.

In the course of the three days Frank receives much unsolicited criticism and advice. However, he in return frequently dispenses his opinions on spoiled young people, marriage, and the whole “male-female relationship thing”.

The laughs come partly from what is said, and partly from who is saying it.

The set is all greens, beiges and browns to reflect the setting of a lonesome cabin in upper New York that is so remote it has no phone, no Wi-Fi, and, to Frank’s disappointment, no newspaper. As the lights dim and swell to mark the passage of the long weekend, we are able to watch some growth and change in not only the middle-aged couple, but also the young jet setters, and in their relationship to each other.

As we go from scene to scene, the music in the background goes from old standards to the music of the ‘60s and ‘70s when Frank and Jill would have been in their 20s. We hear not only the Beatle’s “All You Need is Love”, but also the old Frank Sinatra standard, “Love and Marriage”, with its Bundy connotations.

The play is well acted and the characters are played sincerely, which is important since these characters could easily become caricatures.

The commentary on aging, romance, relationships, and the differences between the sexes is made not only in words, but in actions and emotions.

Weekend Comedy by Jeanne and Sam Bobrick is directed by Doug Grooms and starts at 8 p.m. on March 14, 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23. For those who prefer an afternoon performance, the 2 p.m. matinees will be March 17 and 24. The box office is open for reservations by calling 419.238.9689.

This comedy is aimed at those people who have been married, or who are currently married, or who haven’t been married but have seen other marriages, or anyone interested in laughter. That will take in just about everyone. Come out and enjoy some well-toned laughs!

POSTED: 03/15/13 at 6:27 am. FILED UNDER: News