Written in 1930 by Sir Noel Peirce Coward, ‘Private Lives,’ is one of Coward’s most well-known plays. This famous play explores the complexity of passion, anger, and love.
A divorced couple of five years unexpectedly finds themselves with their new spouses on their honeymoons, and in an uncomfortable situation. They are staying in the same city, the same hotel, with adjoining rooms and a shared balcony. As they first come to realize this awkward situation, each decides to convince their new spouses to leave. Of course the new spouses want to enjoy their honeymoon and refuse to depart. The divorcees Amanda (played by Julie Granata) and Elyot (played by Joseph Fuqua) begin to reconnect, crossing the barrier of their adjoining balconies…embracing and professing their love for one another. It is decided that they, together, will be the ones to flee.
It is in a flat in Paris that the real comedy begins. At one moment Amanda and Elyot are oogling over one another like new lovers. Then they begin verbally jabbing and skirting the edges of a major argument. They can’t keep this dance going for long and finally deteriorate into a drop-down, drag out fight. It is at that moment that the new spouses come walking in. The dialogue that ensues over the next couple of scenes had me laughing so hard. Coward’s witty use of language was spot on. A play written in the 1930s, that is just as relevant and humorous today as it was then, is a testament to a talented writer that could tap into emotion and themes that transcends time and place.
I walked out of The Playhouse at the end of ‘Private Lives’ still chuckling and wondering if in another 80 years, if this play will still have the same effect and have the audience laughing uncontrollably.
Private Lives at Laguna Playhouse
Now playing thru April 10, 2011
By: Anne-Marie Schiefer