A play about life, love and intimacy – or lack of it – is coming to Haines next week. The cast is rehearsing in the leadup to the Neil Simon comedy Last of the Red Hot Lovers.
“It’s about a middle aged man who is trying to have a last fling in his life,” says Tod Sebens. He’s directing the play. “He feels like life is passing him by and so he meets these three women at various places and times.”
The man is Barney Cashman, played by Tony Habra.
“He is going through a midlife crisis and he thinks the only way he will ever truly experience life is if he as an affair with someone other than his wife,” says Habra.
One of the women is Jeannette Fisher, his wife’s best friend.
“I’m the third woman that Barney tries to have an affair with,” says Margaret Sebens. She plays Jeannette.
Sebens says each of the women are kind of caricatures.
“I’m the neurotic woman,” says Sebens. “So it makes it easier to play because it is kind of a little bit of a caricature. But then there’s little pockets of being able to dig deeper and expose something other than just neuroticism.”
Tara Bicknell plays Bobbi Michele.
“She keeps dropping these one-liners that you’re just like –uh – what? What? Wah-wah-what? And Barney seems to be chasing her around with a butterfly net trying to figure out what she wants or who she is or what that meant,” says Bicknell. “Was that aggressive or was that okay?”
Bicknell says her character is kind of a handful.
“She’s kind of this distracted wild thing living between New York and LA. And I think she’s just up for anything but doesn’t quite have a direction of her own,” says Bicknell. “And seems to have encountered all these just bizarre experiences in life.”
Tod Sebens directs a play annually in Haines. Usually, they’re a little more serious. But this year he decided to go for the laughs.
“I like to have a fair amount of drama mixed with some comedy so people go away feeling good still,” says Sebens. “I have thought of doing some full-on dramas but people don’t like those too much in the winter time when it’s dark. So I decided to go with a full-on comedy this time.”
But there are some life lessons embedded in the story.
“It’s funny. It is about relationships,” says Margaret Sebens. “And I think that it’s going to make people laugh and maybe think a little bit about their own marriages or partnerships.”
Bicknell says it’s about life choices.
“Choosing a lifestyle, whether it’s a wild lifestyle or a stable lifestyle and having an affair, being part of the party — or not. How you choose to live your life and how rewarding that choice is,” says Bicknell.
The third woman Barney tries to have an affair with is Elaine Navazio, played by Madeline Witek. Whether he succeeds with any of them, the cast won’t say. But either way, Bicknell says he finds closure.
“Barney figures it out in the end. The meaning of life,” says Bicknell.
Sebens rates the production PG-13, for some language and portrayed drug use. Opening night is Friday, March 31 at the Chilkat Center.