Arts & Leisure

Witty “The Long Weekend” gone too soon

SUSAN LEVINSTEIN and Harlene Miller in “The Long Weekend” on stage at the Westminster Community Playhouse, concluding this weekend (WCP photo).

By Thom deMartino

It’s a rude awakening when you realize the grass is only so-so greener on the other side.

In Westminster Community Playhouse’s production of “The Long Weekend,” Max and Wynn (Greg Stokes and Harlene Miller) appear to have the idyllic life. He’s the successful lawyer, she’s the respected and up-and-coming therapist: and the pair have invited Wynn’s best friend Abby (Susan Levinstein) and her husband Roger (Bill Paxon) to their rural weekend house … much to both couple’s chagrin.

The pairs seem more “frienemies” than “besties” – Wynn and Abby each resenting the other’s foibles, while Max and Roger, well … barely tolerate and virtually loathe each other, all the while putting on a smiling facade.

One might even ask why these four would even be friends, with the amount of passive-aggressive and barely-disguised irritation between them: such as Abby’s loathing of Wynn’s taste (such as her artistic choice to paint the kitchen a blinding canary yellow), and Roger’s animosity over Max’s displays of wealth and constant inquiries on how the former’s endlessly toiled-upon screenplay is coming. Yet, for all the snarkiness, there does seem some genuine affection between Wynn and Abby as the old friends, even if their respective husbands have no love lost for each other.

But emotions are unpredictable, and for all the static between the pairs, each couple’s own relationship has its issues — including Abby’s strange affinity with dolls and stuffed animals from her childhood, and Wynn’s constant need to analyze her partner.

Yet, where one flame may be sputtering and struggling, another may burst into life…

One might assume this to be a very heavy relationship drama, but far from it – the Chris Coleman-directed romp is instead quite the contrary, a lighthearted and tongue-in-cheek look at what we want, what we think we want, and what happens when we get it.

There are some hysterical and brilliantly timed exchanges between the players: while there are only four actors in the entire show, you don’t need any more with the fullness of how well their characters are developed. Paxson’s neurotic Roger with his poise and his eye-rolling, Miller’s Wynn’s detail-oriented manner and surreptitious lust, Levinstein’s hyper-critical and fashion-conscious Abby with her paradoxical devotion to the friendship, and Stokes’ personable, passionate yet exasperated Max all create a spectrum of the complexity of human emotions, wants, desires, and realizations.

Only at WCP for one final weekend, “The Long Weekend” will be gone far too soon, so now’s the time to experience it, and its hysterical take on both relationships and wanting what you haven’t got.

“The Long Weekend.” Harlene Miller, Greg Stokes, Susan Levinstein and Bill Paxson star in this tale of the web of complexity that is human relationships. Playing through Sunday, Jan. 27 at the Westminster Community Playhouse, 7272 Maple St, Westminster, CA 92683. Ticketing information available online at http://www.wctstage.org,or call 714-893-8626.

 

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