They say don’t judge a book by its cover. How about a play’s title? IRT, 140 W. Washington Street, Indianapolis, opened Stephen Dietz’s Becky’s New Car this week, and the title says it all.
Middle-aged Becky Foster, played by Constance Macy, Iron Kisses, is tired of her humdrum life and wants some excitement. While working overtime at a posh auto dealership and fantasizing about her own dream car whisking her away from her sedate life, a wealthy widower stops by to buy nine cars for his employees.
Walter Flood, portrayed by Nicholas Hormann, The Heavens are Hung in Black, is mourning the loss of his wife, who handled all of life’s little details for him. Becky is the go-to person for everyone. It’s a perfect match...except that Becky has a husband.
Joe Foster, played by Robert Neal, is the blue collar worker content with his lot in life. Neal turns in a makes-it-look-easy performance as a sitcom-style husband, clueless as to how to make his wife happy.
Hormann nails the role of Flood as a befuddled, born-into-wealth, lost soul matching comfortably with Becky’s organized personality.
Dietz, known for disregarding the invisible line between stage and audience, also ignores the unseen wall between the actor and the stage crew. This is the crux of the high-speed merriment and the genius of playwright Stephen Dietz.
B r e a k i n g through the fourth wall numerous times, Macy’s performance is pure comedic delight as she interacts with the audience, asking for help on various issues and duties. She then instructs the crew on lighting, setting and wardrobe changes.
All of this interaction is done on the pop-up storybook stage set while changing clothes onstage, selling cars, cleaning the living room and cheating on her husband. She is quite the expert multitasker.
At first glance, this play is just another comedy. Upon next-day glance, the sitcom-esque play is more. It addresses dreams, desperation and death. It brings forth the repercussions of disregarding marital vows and the aftereffects of betrayal while keeping the audience laughing. It has several story lines joining together at the end, most I have not mentioned for fear of revealing too many surprises.
Bottom Line: Becky’s New Car is an interactive comedy which you needn’t bother going to see unless you are ready for an 80-mph, convertible-top-down, radio-blasting, sun-shining drive along Life Moves Fast Boulevard.
If you have a performance you would like reviewed, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Me, I will be right here, cruising along that boulevard.
This post was originally published under "Gotta Go" in the West Side Community News in Indianapolis, and the West Indianapolis Community News.