Affectionate fun. With Sister Act, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and Catch Me If You Can all being adapted for Broadway this spring, the Great White Way's love affair with cinema is as ardent as ever. Theresa Rebeck (Bad Dates, Mauritius) pokes gentle fun at this relationship by throwing the character of Jake, an action movie star, into a staging of a "lost" Franz Kafka play.
You don't have to like Kafka to like this show. The Understudy is produced by a group of College of Charleston alumni called Crescent Stage. They're the team behind Piccolo versions of ART and Reasons to Be Pretty. This year they're tackling Rebeck's insider view of off-stage relationships. "It's an homage to the theater," says Crescent's Paul Rolfes. "It looks at how Hollywood's creeping into Broadway. There are Kafka's themes of existentialism, but most of all it's about a triangle between the main characters."
Striking a nerve. Rolfes feels that this is the perfect time for Rebeck's comedy to be performed. "People are re-evaluating who they are and what they do," he says. "These characters are all in that kind of flux, which leads to some funny moments as the heroine deals with the two men in her life." The Understudy is a wit-packed distillation of human hopes and shattered dreams as thwarted thespians rail against the futility of their underappreciated jobs.