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Get together and watch ‘Alone Together’

By Staff | Feb 19, 2009

Lawrence Roman’s domestic comedy “Alone Together” is currently celebrating laughter, as well as pleasuring audiences at the Florida Rep.

This laugh-out-loud comedy stars Carrie Lund and Tad Ingram playing middle-aged parents, Helene and George Butler, whose three sons have finally left the nest. They are alone together but not for long.

The play is set in 1978 when the Butler’s three young adult sons – Keith (Trey Gerrald), Michael (Jason Parrish), Elliott (John Robert Warren) – suddenly return to their parents’ Los Angeles home after experiencing some harsh times in the real world outside. Helene and George have been looking forward to the enjoyment and the quiet freedom of togetherness, after having spent 30 years on child raising.

Both Mom and Dad blame their Children’s regressive behavior on Dr. Spock and the permissive extremes touted by the media of the 1960s. Aside from the inherent irony of the return-to-the-nest message (so very relevant in these tough economic times: adult children are coming back like homing pigeons), there’s also a treasure trove of one-liners to keep the laughs coming hot and heavy.

Some prime examples:

I’ve just gone from hula hoops to gestation.” “I’ve never lost myself. I’ve only been under siege.” “Kids when they’re little you want to eat them up; when they’re grown, you wish you had!”

Although “Alone Together” is written with a TV sitcom approach, it rings true as well as sincere, and the playwright does say a great deal about parents and kids. The first prodigal is eldest son Michael, an M.I.T. graduate and mathematician, who almost sets the house on fire with his scientific experiments. He can’t get his head around failing at anything, whether it’s making his mark by solving an unsolvable math problem or learning to accept the well-known frozen Boston winters. Meanwhile, the second prodigal is son Elliot, a guy who’s never lost his roving eye. He has somehow managed to develop an annoyingly thick Western drawl along with some rough and tumble cowboy ways after living only a few years in Texas with his now-estranged wife.

If that weren’t enough to put the parents ’round the bend, just for added zing the playwright throws in Jani (Mary Margaret Roberts) as the blonde bombshell – a nubile, mini-skirted, hippy-dippy coed with a penchant for living like a chaste nun (California’s latest trend – “the celibate life”).

So instead of living the midlife “now generation,” Helene and George suddenly become the “sandwich generation” squeezed between the needs of their three returning prodigals as well as Jani Bolt-from-the-blue, who isn’t even family. This hilarious mixt of parents under siege turned out to be the plus-perfect recipe for a fun evening’s entertainment.

The cast couldn’t have been better – most especially, the sensitive, comic, multi-textured acting of Carrie Lund as Helene, the hapless Mom who wants to cut loose and enjoy life at long last. I’ve seen Lund in many outstanding roles throughout the years, but this performance of Helene may stand out as her memorable best. Bravo, Carrie!

Tad Ingram held his own as the frustrated, beleaguered father of “my three sons.” Jason Parrish was fine as the nerdy, frustrated, disenfranchised M.I.T. graduate and mathematician. I found John Robert Warren a bit over the top as the philandering Texas cowpoke. Trey Gerrald as Keith, the youngest, was simply adorable, as was Roberts as Jani, the scantily clad bombshell.

Chris Clavelli’s direction was ideally fast-paced, keeping the laughs building from scene to scene and making “Alone Together” the perfect fare for an enjoyable evening out attending live theater by one of the best repertory acting companies in our area, the Florida Rep.

So hurry on down to the theater or pick up the phone and call the box office at 332-4488 to make your reservations before March 8th when, unlike the kids returning home, the show will be GONE! Just remind ’em Marsha sent you.