The Cocktail Hour

I have wanted to do an A. R. Gurney play for many years. His vivisection of upper middle class WASP culture speaks to my upbringing and I've always been drawn to the humor and humanity in his writing. So when I heard that Renton Civic Theatre was doing The Cocktail Hour, I was thrilled and excited to audition. It was one of his plays I hadn't heard of, but as soon as I read it, I loved it.

The story is of a playwright who has written a play about his father and comes home one weekend to ask his permission to produce it. The play contains some family secrets and a less than flattering characterization of his father, so he's not surprised when the father denied permission to produce the play. I loved the fact that the play the characters are discussing is actually the one we are seeing on stage. It is a fun, meta experience with lots of laughs and some seriously touching moments.

As I was preparing for my audition, I focused on John, since he was my age. But I was envious of the person who was going to get to play Bradley, the 75 year old father, as he seemed to have the bulk of the funny lines. John, his late-40's son, the playwright, was more of a straight man who spent much of the play chirping, "Yes, Pop... I know, Pop... That's right, Pop.. etc. "

I was surprised to actually get cast as the 75 year old!  I enjoyed learning all of those funny lines and getting laughs each night. My biggest challenge was to make the curmudgeonly old man not too unlikeable.

The play was so much fun and I was thrilled to work with three excellent actors.
 (above, left to right: Dawn Cornell as "Ann", JAG as "Bradley", Caitlin Gilman as "Nina" and Mark Fox as "John")

I grew a mustache and learned how to color my hair using Tempera paint and the fine art of drawing wrinkles on my face with eyeliner pencils. I wore a pair of glasses low on my nose and made a point to always tilt my face down so I could look over the top of the glasses. It accentuated the lines in my face, but after a couple of months of doing that, my neck was terribly sore.
"The Cocktail Hour" ran from Feb 9-22, 2018 at Renton Civic Theatre and was directed by Bill Huls.

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