On Stage: 'Parallel Lives: The Kathy and Mo Show' opens at USCB Center for the Arts

features@beaufortgazette.comApril 9, 2014 

Elena Martinez-Vidal, left, and Dewey Scott-Wiley, right, star in "Parallel Lives: The Kathy and Mo Show."

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Director: Dewey Scott-Wiley, who is artistic director for Trustus Theater in Columbia

Lead actors: Elena Martinez-Vidal and Dewey Scott-Wiley

The plot: A series of satirical sketches that examine human interaction from a distinctly female point of view. The actors portray male and female characters in a variety of roles and circumstances covering issues like love, family, gender, dating, marriage and religion. Women love to laugh at themselves and each other, and most will recognize themselves or someone they know in these characters, who are struggling through the common rituals of everyday life. The skits include working women dressing for a day on the job; two senior citizens taking a course in women's studies; teenagers on a date; a man and a woman in a country and western bar; and two little girls trying to make sense of Catholicism.

The story behind the show: The show was written and first performed in 1991 by comedians Kathy Najimy and Mo Gaffney, and achieved cult status in its off-Broadway, 20-year run, garnering the artists Obie Awards for both writing and acting in its first year. It was also an HBO television special the first year of its run. Scott-Wiley and Martinez-Vidal have been performing the play since 1993 at Trustus Theater in Columbia, where it was a huge hit when it first ran. They have performed the show all over the Carolinas and now bring it back every three or so years as a fundraiser. Their performance in Beaufort will be the first "on the road" show they have done for a while, and their first appearance in the Lowcountry.

Director's take: "In all the years we have been performing in this show, our audiences have never let us get stale -- their enjoyment and laughter just reinforces all the hard work and love we have both invested in this iconic piece," Scott-Wiley said. "We have from time to time updated some of the settings, improvised some lines and changed the order of some scenes, but the show is basically what Kathy and Mo wrote 33 years ago and still has the universal appeal of irreverently skewering topics such as feminism, gender roles, gay rights and religion as it did then."

Behind the scenes: "We find ourselves identifying with different characters each time we do the show," Scott-Wiley said. "We are, at our core, most like the elderly women who are on a Performance Art field trip. We are often asked to appear as the characters at various functions and in other settings. We can conjure them at a moment's notice, complete with the actual aches and pains of performing the show for over 21 years. Their wisdom and sense of humor continues to guide us every day."

Run dates: 7:30 p.m. April 11 and 3 p.m. April 13

Ticket prices: $22; $20 for seniors; $15 for students; $40 for seats and to attend the after-party April 11 with the actors at a private home in Beaufort

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

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