In his introduction to the collection "The Comedy of Neil Simon," the prolific American playwright wrote of an incident in his young marriage where his wife, Joan, hurled a frozen veal chop at him because words could no longer express the passion of a bitter argument they were having.
"A faint flicker of a smile crossed my face," he wrote. Standing outside of himself, Simon saw the absurdity of the situation. Such a moment would fit perfectly in Barefoot, a comedy about newlyweds who, true to the times, don't really know each other yet — and argue about their differences.
Ou production will not be a cutesy, Valentine view of Manhattan newlyweds Paul and Corie Bratter. We're playing them as real people. They all have needs, these characters. You can really look into, and find a lot in, the play — it gives you a lot of clues to what their needs are.
We're keeping the play in it's original year, 1963. It was almost the end of the innocence but the world still wasn't cynical yet, and I think that's the beauty of the play — it's not cynical, it's emotional.
The tiny apartment is the setting for marital fireworks between Paul, a young, buttoned-down lawyer, and Corie, the free-spirited housewife. The social context is traditional American marriage from that era— where you are expected to get married and then live together.
These are people who haven't really experienced each other: The twentysomething Paul and Corie still have a lot to learn about marital negotiation. That process is made more intense in the context of new home, new closeness, new job (for Paul) and visits by Corie's widowed New Jersey mother.
I think Corie and Paul are both really very naive. The different thing about them is that people didn't live together before they got married. They got married and then they lived together. They're getting to know each other. That's the universal thing about the play: Everybody who has ever been in love and moved in with somebody has gone through stuff like this. No matter what age, if you fall in love with somebody and you move in with them, you have to fall in love all over again. And that is never easy!
In a famous fight scene, Corie talks about "doers" and "watchers" and rails against her "stuffed shirt" young husband. Is she on a mission to change him? I don't really think that's what it's about. I think Corie is on a mission to understand how this happened…how it happens. I don't think it's an aggressive act to change Paul, it's more about trying to understand him and her new surroundings.
It's a truly beautiful play — it's a touching, emotional play. I always look for the emotion when picking pieces for The Edge. It's not a gag play, it's a real story, it's Neil Simon's story. I'm hoping that people will be touched by it. I don't think people today realize what a wonderful play this is.
Barefoot in the Park opens February 22nd and runs until March 3rd. You can buy tickets or reserve them right here on our website. Or ask any of our cast members to put in an order for you!
Have a beautifully creative day and I'll see you at the theatre,
Artistic Director of The Edge Productions
Paul Bratter - Matt Maenpaa
Corie Bratter - Miriam Goldstein
Mother (Ethel) - Nicola Adams
Victor Velasco - James Neely
Telephone Repair Man (Harry Pepper) - Peter Hrastovec
Delivery Man - Chris Powers
Co-Directed by Alexandra Dietrich and Elinor Price