BEYOND THERAPY by Christopher Durang is a difficult play to produce at any level, so kudos to The Village Players of Hatboro and director, Zachary Palmer for challenging themselves to mount such a complicated and layered play.
BEYOND THERAPY is a series of related vignettes that take place mainly in two psychiatrists’ offices and a restaurant. The main characters Bruce and Prudence are both adults in therapy and they have encountered each other through personal ads. On their initial date both expose many comical neuroses to each other and to the audience.
Our curiosity about the oddness of these two is soon satisfied as we meet each in his or her individual therapy session. Prudence is being “counseled” by a degenerate narcissist while Bruce is in therapy with a dissociative but charming lunatic who employs a Snoopy doll to assist her in their sessions.
Director Palmer and his cast push themselves at every turn to capture the zaniness of this absurdist comedy. Kevin Christian as Bruce and Lisa Litchko-Stunder make a realistic couple that the audience wants to see get together. At times they lose subtlety for slapstick, but they more than make it up in their commitment to each role. Bob Petrik and Linda Walsh as the psychiatrists create unique characters that highlight playwright, Durang’s distrust of therapy. They are both committed to their choices, but Walsh who has the clearly more lovable character takes full advantage of Charlotte’s lunacy to mine her role for all of its comic worth. Joe Forsstrom as Bruce’s male, live-in lover and Bob Harris as the criminally reformed waiter both add to the night’s jollity as comic foils. At times the pace seemed alternately slow and forced, but that may have been a result of opening night jitters. The tech at Village Players is rudimentary, but it could also tighten up a bit.
The important thing is that the audience enjoyed themselves and laughter pervaded the evening. BEYOND THERAPY continues on weekends until October 18th,
by Christopher Durang
Directed by Zachary Palmer
October 3 – 18, 2014
The Village Players of Hatboro
401 Jefferson Ave.
Hatboro, PA 19040