ALONE TOGETHER: Chapel Street Players Open 80th Season with Light Fare

by John Muller

When one thinks of the 1980s, one thinks of the extravagance of the time period. Everything was over the top from clothing to music to hair. The 80s were a time when both parents worked and pursued creative outlets. Children were given every opportunity to be a part of everything. It was a time when social status was weighed by how many sports your kids played and how many activities in which you were involved. While parents in every decade have placed the needs of their children above their own, it was particularly prevalent in the 80s. It was a time when kids went off to college, only to find themselves returning to live with mom and dad for a period of time – and mom and dad were happy to have them. ALONE TOGETHER, presented by The Chapel Street Players, takes audiences on a trip down memory lane to a time where girls just wanted to have fun and we were living in a material world.

ALONE TOGETHER is a story of two middle aged parents who find themselves without children, as their children have moved on to adulthood. Until, of course, all three children return (in one form or another – you will get it when you see the play) ruining the wonderful bliss and silence of the empty nest. There are the typical dysfunctional family allusions – a married couple that spends so much time raising children they don’t take the time to nurture their own relationship which causes resentments that rear their ugly heads, which results in the children not being able to have fully functional relationships.

This, indubitably, causes their return home to interrupt the parents’ rediscovery of each other.

Curtis King, August D’Amato, Dennis Connor, Charles Webb, Stephen Ashby in a scene from ALONE TOGETHER. (Photo Credit: Che-Yu (Peter) Kuo)

The Chapel Street Players opened their 80th season with a show that takes place in the 80s. Coincidence? Probably. Be that as it may, this traditional comedy brought many laughs from the audience. The characters were solidly portrayed, and the cast communicated the story adequately making sure we didn’t miss any of the punchlines. Of particular note was August D’Amato who portrayed Janie Johnson, the “friend” of the youngest son that comes to “visit” Mr. and Mrs. Butler in the middle of their crisis with their other two sons. Many of the characters in this story are stereotypical, and D’Amato mastered her caricature quite well. Cindy Starcher, as Helene Butler (the mom), had some very nice moments as her character plunged farther and farther into her family’s dysfunction.

The story is set in 1983, and all the 80s elements were present, from the clunky video camera to the VHS tapes on the bookshelf to the bright coral paint on the walls. The set was a burst of the exorbitant excess that characterized the decade. This certainly presented the framework for a story that included three very spoiled children who exuded all that was this generation.

Overall, ALONE TOGETHER was a reminiscent jaunt back to the 80s, with some fun historical pop culture references. While there were some pacing issues that caused the story to be told a bit choppily, the cast and crew brought the audience some laughs and a story to which most of us could relate.

Chapel Street Players’ production of ALONE TOGETHER runs through October 25th.

Written by Lawrence Roman
Directed by Susie Moak
October 17—25, 2014
Chapel Street Players
27 N. Chapel Street
Newark, Delaware 19711

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