BY EDGAR ENRIQUEZ —
Going to therapy in the 1980s was like getting a driver’s license: everyone did it.
And, fresh from the sexual revolution of the ‘60s and ‘70s, people weren’t ashamed to be open about their desire to meet someone special – newspaper personals helped with that.
Into this environment Christopher Durang drops his audience in “Beyond Therapy,” the upcoming play directed by Dr. Elizabeth Stroppel at the Shea Center for Performing Arts from Oct. 26 – 29.
Durang is known for his wacky and absurd comedy, said Stroppel.
“We haven’t done any Christopher Durang since I’ve been here and I’ve been here since 1999,” she said. “So, I thought it was time we start to do other things and give the students a chance to work with (him).”
“Beyond Therapy” is all about trying to meet new people, something Durang exaggerates for comic effect.
“If you know Durang’s body of work you know that his work is very much about exaggerated characters in exaggerated situations,” Stroppel said. “What makes Christopher Durang special is that it’s wacky, just wacky.”
Bruce, Bob, and Prudence are three of the characters from Durang’s “Beyond Therapy” and are caught between an amusing and conflicting romantic dispute.
“Bruce is an interesting and conflicted person,” said Zack Guida, 19, the actor who portrays Bruce. “He’s been living with this man Bob for over a year now, they’re in a romantic relationship, but he also wants to go out and date women.”
Bruce puts ads in the paper and eventually finds Prudence, according to Guidea
“Bob is very theatrical,” said Richard Hanley Jr., 20, the actor who portrays Bob. “Bob wants it to end, while trying to get Prudence to understand this is not gonna last awhile, I am and she isn’t.”
Prudence is lost, uncertain but looking for love, according to Kristina Menhinick, 22, the actress who portrays Prudence. The character goes to therapy to figure out what she wants in a relationship but her therapist also makes her more uncertain.
“It’s just a bunch of not right-people coming together and causing a lot of chaos on stage,” Guida said. “It’s a very interesting journey and you should get a bunch of laughs out of it.”
“Beyond Therapy” is in performance Oct. 26-29 at the Shea Center for the Performing Arts. Times are Thursday-Saturday, 7 p.m., Saturday 2 p.m. and Sunday 3 p.m. General admission is $15; $10 for William Paterson University faculty, staff, students, and senior citizens.