MCCTA: Neil Simon Duo
By Raphael Beretta
This weekend marks the start of MCCTA’s 2017-2018 season, with an exciting new venture. Jake’s Women will be held on October 5th and 13th at 8 p.m., and October 8th and 15th at 2 p.m. Lost in Yonkers will be on October 6th, 7th, 12th, and 14th at 8 p.m.
Jake’s Women, a lesser-known play written by Neil Simon, focuses on a writer talking to the real and imaginary women in his life as he battles severe writer’s block, psychosis and the mourning of his late wife. The semi-autobiographical work depicts a somber and morose side of the legendary playwright, all while maintaining his signature humor.
Lost in Yonkers, also written by Simon, is centered around two young Bronx boys, Jay and Arty, who are forced to move in with their cold grandmother and youthful aunt when their mother passes away from a lengthy battle with an illness. The 1991 play garnered Simon his one and only Pulitzer prize, and is seen by many as the pièce de résistance of his work.
This ambitious undertaking of the Simon classic matched with one of his darker, more personal works in repertory-style is a “new experience for everyone involved,” Julia DiMarzo ‘18, the chairperson of show publicity, said.
The crew is essentially operating two productions at the same time, with two completely different sets and wardrobes. This undertaking is driven by the work of directors Jim Steinmeyer (Jake’s Women) and Matt Andrews (Lost in Yonkers).
“They have very different styles and approaches to directing, and both are excellent people to work with,” DiMarzo said. Steinmeyer has typically run the mainstage in the fall, while Andrews has helmed the musical in the spring; the dual-show, dual-weekend setup is a welcome change of pace.
“It has been a very interesting process for everyone involved,” DiMarzo said.
Coming in November, the MCCTA Children’s Theatre production will be a re-telling of the fairy-tale Hansel and Gretel. Children’s Theatre productions typically offer two nights of performances for Marist students to attend and five daytime-performances for local preschoolers and kindergartners.
“Sometimes Children’s Theatre can be the most fun,” DiMarzo said, “They are usually sillier, with more opportunities for improvisation and jokes on-stage. It also feels great to hear the adorable reactions of the children in the audience.”
In the Spring, MCCTA’s lineup includes Rodgers and Hammerstein’s hit musical The King and I, experimental theatre’s presentation of The Dining Room, another installment of the Me Too Monologues, featuring anonymous student-submitted stories, and the annual production of “Festival”, a series of five to six 15-minute student-written plays.
Submissions are soon being accepted for the Me Too Monologues and “Festival”, the latter of which has a potential scholarship opportunity.
Come see MCCTA kick off their year with two weekends of Neil Simon: Jake’s Women and Lost in Yonkers!