Friday, June 14, 2024

‘It’s Only A Play’ takes a comedic look at life back-stage (slideshow)

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Get pulled into life of the theater; a play is happening in Wilmington that will have your belly rolling with laughter.

“It’s Only A Play” is showing at Thalian Hall’s Ruth and Bucky Theatre, with several show times scheduled through Sunday, Nov 6. Directed by Justin Smith, six cast members take the stage for a dramatic and hilarious take on the life of an actor.

The play, written by an American playwright, librettist, and screenwriter Terrance McNally in 1983, is centered around a party as Broadway actors wait for their review. The play opened in Broadway theater in 2014.

The setting is in the upstairs bedroom of a Manhattan townhouse on the night of the new Broadway Play, “The Golden Egg.” It’s a funny over-the-top piece based upon a real-life reflection of theater life, but “taken to another level,” said Thalian’s Executive Director Tony Rivenbark, who is also starring in the play.

“This play is essentially about theater people and about the theater in New York,” Rivenbark said in an interview before the start of the play last week. “This is an occasion where you’re sort of seeing behind the curtain, as it were, on an opening night after a show and everybody is waiting for the reviews to come out.”

Rivenbark said “It’s Only A Play” was chosen because it works with the intimate setting of the Ruth and Bucky Theatre, and along with the area’s selection of actors, and actresses, that could work with the play.

“All the love, hate, anger, frustration, and all of theater and producing theater. And them not being appreciated … it’s this love-hate thing. The maniacal, sadomasochism aspect of being involved in theater and the pressure that it puts on people. That’s what the show is all about,” Rivenbark said.

Other stars include, Joe Basquill, George Domby, Eric Johann, Nina Repeta, Sam Robinson, Suellen Yates and Torch. All the actors perform on box set designed by Gary Ralph Smith, of Raleigh.

“The cast is stellar! And every actor in group is remarkable and I am so honored to be apart of this,” said Actress and Singer Nina Repeta, most recognized as “Bessie” from the Wilmington-based TV show “Dawson’s Creek.”

“Whenever you are working on a comedy, once you get the show up on its feet, it is so much fun,” Repeta said. “That’s the thing that sets it apart from any other kind of play; every night we go on stage, we never quite know what exactly is going to happen. And you have to roll with it. And in the rolling-with-it, that’s where it can really get funny.”

"It's Only A Play" is showing at Ruth and Bucky Stein Theatre at Thalian Hall until Nov.6. (Photo courtesy of Tony Rivenbark.)
“It’s Only A Play” is showing at Ruth and Bucky Stein Theatre at Thalian Hall until Nov.6. (Photo courtesy of Tony Rivenbark.)

Another actress, Suellen Yates, who has performed in over 100 stage productions and more than 40 films, television shows and commercials, invites guests to join in on the laughter.

“It’s a comedy,” Yates said. “It’s different every night depending on what happens on stage. And for me, making people laugh is one of the greatest things in the world … Come and laugh! It’s about laughing.”

This play, however, contains “strong” language and is not suitable for children. Buy a ticket and grab a program before the play; just seven showtimes remain the show ends in Wilmington. For more information about “It’s Only A Play” and to get tickets click here.

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