A second chance at love
By Eli Hans
A moving romantic comedy, Neil Simon’s Chapter Two is considered one of Simon’s finest works, and is filled with as many laughs as there are heart-felt moments. With witty, effortless dialogue, this semi-autobiographical piece was written as a tribute to actress Marsha Mason, Simon’s second wife, and her infinite patience in dealing with his relentless sense of grief over the loss of his first wife.
Playreaders presents: Chapter Two by Neil Simon
Wed, Aug 21 & Thu, Aug 22, 7:30pm
St. Paul’s Church
The story is about George Schneider, a widowed novelist, still reeling from the death of his idyllic wife of 12 years, and Jennie Malone, a freshly divorced actress, nowhere near ready to begin dating again. Both, starting their lives from scratch, are pressured to begin dating as soon as possible. George, by his skirt-chasing brother Leo, who introduces him to women he would like to sleep with, as his marriage falls apart. And Jennie, from her best friend, soap opera actress Faye, who insists that male companionship will solve everything, sensing the downfall of her own rapidly crumbling marriage.
A spur-of-the-moment phone call turns into a five-minute meeting that blossoms into a passionate and wonderful romance, sending George and Jennie into a whirlwind of elation. Yet, their instant relationship is soon plagued by confusion and pain as George’s feelings of loyalty and betrayal toward his deceased wife unexpectedly emerge. Witnessing George and Jennie’s instant love affair affects Faye and Leo in interesting ways, as they deal with their own failed marriages.
Soon, a volcano of turmoil threatens to erupt and ruin their lives. But, does it? You’ll have to come see for yourself. Be prepared to laugh and get warm-fuzzies – and, you may want to bring a Kleenex or two. The play is witty, sharp and very sweet.
Chapter Two ran on Broadway for two years, won numerous awards, and was nominated for the 1978 Tony Award for Best Play. In 1979, Simon adapted it into a film starring James Caan and Simon’s then-wife Marsha Mason. In 1996, the play opened in London’s West End, starring Tom Conti and Sharon Gless.
This Playreaders’ production is directed by Eli Hans. The talented cast includes the affable Carrie Haugh as Jennie, (coming to us from New York City and seen in several favorite San Miguel de Allende productions), a relative newcomer to Playreaders – but certainly not to the stage; Gerri Baruch plays her high-strung best friend, Faye. And, in a purposeful bit of casting, having appeared together in Brooklyn Boy and Opus, Chuck Rubin and Eli Hans get to play brothers Leo and George Schneider, respectively. Dic Simandl handles lights and sound.