On Stage: 'Same Time Next Year' at USCB Center for the Arts

info@islandpacket.comFebruary 19, 2014 

"Same Time Next Year" opens Feb. 21 at University of South Carolina Beaufort Center for the Arts in Beaufort.

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  • IF YOU GO

    At each performance of "Same Time Next Year," volunteers from Tabby House Adoption Center for Beaufort County Shelter cats will be in the lobby of the theater to accept donations and talk about their successes in finding homes for 260 cats during their first year of operation. Attendees are encouraged to bring the following items to the theater to donate: blue Dawn dish soap; Purina Naturals Cat Chow; 45 gallon garbage bags; hand sanitizers; paper towels; toilet paper; washable cat toys and beds; interactive cat toys and cat DVDs; coupons for Purina Cat products; gift certificates for Walmart, PetSmart, Kmart and all grocery stores; and gift certificates for Little City Dogs online at www.littlecitydogs.com for much needed medications. And there is always the welcomed cash or check donation, payable to Community Foundation of the Lowcountry and in the "for" line, Tabby House.

    Details: www.cf-lowcounty.org

Director: Andrea Drake

Lead actors: Christine Grefe and Michael Weaver

The plot: A chance meeting at a remote inn in northern California brings Doris, a stay-at-home mom, and George, an accountant and dedicated family man, together for one passionate night that turns into a 25-year love affair when they agree to meet at the inn on the same weekend every year. From that first encounter the audience is given "snapshots" of their rendezvous every five years from 1951 to 1975, when the romantic comedy debuted on Broadway. Over the years their growing emotional intimacy deepens their bond as much as their physical attraction, and they talk more about the changes in each other than what happens between the sheets. They support each other through their marital problems, career challenges and personal tragedies while continuing their no-strings-attached love affair. After 25 years they must finally make some decisions about the future, and it is at this point that they realize how much the bond between them has truly changed them both.

Story behind the show: " 'Same Time Next Year' has a special place in my heart," Drake said. "I was performing on stage in Long Island and completely miscast in musicals, mostly because, even though I could neither sing nor dance, I looked OK in costumes. As part of the chorus, I had one line in a play called 'Little Mary Sunshine,' which I delivered in a deep baritone voice. It got a big laugh every night, even from the guys in the pit. When the show closed the director told me I should try comedy. My next part was Doris in 'Same Time Next Year.' That was nearly 35 years ago so, when (USCB Center for the Arts director) Bonnie Hargrove offered me the chance to direct this play, the circle was complete."

Director's take: "Every director has a vision of the play they will direct. That vision is first shaped by the words of the playwright, reshaped again by the vision of the director, and tweaked a third time by the take of the actors," Drake said. "Each piece is meant to form the parts of a puzzle that is transformed yet again within the minds of the audience. They digest what is presented and react based on their own experiences. The result is a multifaceted performance that is enriched and re-enriched in theaters all over the country each time the play is performed."

Behind the scenes: "Our prop manager Annie Helm has performed a herculean task in finding vintage props for the various time periods encompassed by the 25-year span of the show," Drake said. "However, we were still missing a bottle of Scotch for a stage prop when my husband and I left for a getaway weekend in Charleston. Sitting at the bar for a late night snack, I asked the bartender if he had an empty Scotch bottle I might take back to Beaufort. He said he had just emptied one and would be happy to give it to me. He produced an empty, bright green, one-liter bottle of The Glenlivet. I was thrilled. The next morning we packed to leave and I tried to force the bottle into an already overstuffed suitcase and finally decided I might as well just carry it. I placed it on the front desk as I signed our bill, my birthday treat to Rob, when I realized that the desk clerk was eyeing my prop. 'Oh,' I said brightly. 'Don't worry. It's empty!'

" 'I see,' was his reply."

Run dates: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21-22 and 3 p.m. Feb. 23

Ticket prices: $22 for adults; $20 for seniors; and $15 for students

Contact for tickets: www.uscbcenterforthearts.com, 843-521-4145

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