Have you ever wondered what your parents were up to while you were away at sleepovers? If you haven't even considered the thought, lest it involve disturbing images of blindfolds and whips, consider your parents among the fortunate ones. Because often, in those rare moments of calm between washing crayon off the wall and picking alphabet macaroni out of the shag carpet, Mommy and Daddy had too much vino and started scrutinizing their own failed relationship.
Academy Award nominee Michael Weller's play Fifty Words, which opens this weekend at GableStage, follows one such marriage on the verge of falling apart. The couple lives in an idyllic brownstone in an idyllic Brooklyn neighborhood, and they probably attend every PTA meeting with organic cookies in hand. But one night, when their nine-year old son is away on his first sleepover, the curtain is raised on their façade, and not all is so shiny and perfect.
"During that one night we witness and learn almost everything about
their marriage -- the good, the bad and the ugly," says director Joseph
Adler. "[The play] says, in less than two hours, more about the
difficulties involved in keeping relationships alive than you can get in
months of couples therapy."
Gregg Weiner and Erin Joy Schmidt get passive agressive in Fifty Words.
Photo by George Schiavone.
We imagine, based on the stills of a menacing Adam (played by Gregg
Weiner, winner of a Best Supporting Actor Carbonell for his work in
Farragut North), and an enraged Jan (performed by Erin Joy Schmidt, who
received critical praise for her role in Neil LaBute's Reasons to Be
Pretty), that the ugly involves a battle with demons of epic
proportions. In a stellar line of dialogue from the play, Jan declares,
"It's a stupid word, love ... There should be 50 words for it, like Eskimos
have for snow." She'd probably like "hate" to be one of them.
Fifty Words will be presented at GableStage at the Biltmore (1200
Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables) this Saturday to September 12.
Performances will take place on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and on
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Sundays at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., except for August 15 when there are no
shows. Tickets cost $15 to $45. Call 305-445-1119 or visit