Neil Simon’s Barefoot In The Park premiered on Broadway in 1963, at the height of the ‘Mad Men’ era.
But the comedy – about the stresses of newlywed life in a bizarrely run-down New York apartment building without an elevator – isn’t just a period piece, according to Rebecca Strom who plays romantic and impulsive new bride Corie Bratter in the White Rock Players’ Club’s upcoming production.
“The core of the show is young love and what happens when the initial wonder wears off and the honeymoon phase is over – and that’s timeless,” said Strom.
“Love is love and people are going to have to deal with other people, and you have to surrender part of yourself to love another person.”
Co-starring with Strom is Players Club artistic director Ryan Mooney, switching hats to appear onstage as Corie’s new husband, proper, overly cautious lawyer Paul Bratter.
“I’ve worked with Ryan before, but only as a director – I was in Matt and Ben for his Fighting Chance Productions in 2010, and last year I played in The Crucible for him in White Rock. I was Abigail – the bad guy.”
Strom says she is enjoying playing opposite Mooney.
“The fact that he is a director means that he really knows what he’s doing as an actor – he has a lot of funny lines and he really hits them out of the park each time.
Strom said that although most of the acting work she does currently is in independent film, she still has a soft spot for the stage.
“Every time I step away from it and say I won’t do any more plays for a while, my heart aches for it,” she admits.
And while she tends to play more dramatic roles, she said she enjoys the challenge of making people laugh, in which she can draw on previous experience in stand-up comedy.
“I can definitely relate to the character of Corie – of all the characters I’ve played she’s the most similar to me. She’s a lot more wild and crazy than I am, but I do wear my emotions on my sleeve – when I’m upset about something you’re going to know it, and when I’m happy you’re going to know it.
“And she’s crazy in love with her husband, and when I fall in love I fall in love wholeheartedly, with everything I am.”
Strom says she’s also having a good time working with director Marko Hohlbein’s sure, inventive touch with farce, as well as a supporting cast of great comedy players, who make the most of Simon’s script.
Among laugh-getters is Cindy Peterson, who plays Corrie’s widowed mother, Mrs. Banks, who Corrie sets up on a blind date with neighbour Victor Velasco (Raymond Hatton), an eccentric bohemian who thinks nothing of walking ledges and sneaking through his neighbours’ apartments to break into his own perpetually locked residence.
Costume design is by Suzanne de Pencier, with set design by Dave Carroll and properties by Rosemary Schuster.
Tickets are $18, $16 (students, seniors and Coast Capital members) including taxes and fees, and are available from 604-536-7535 or online at www.whiterockplayers.ca
Barefoot runs June 4-21 at Coast Capital Playhouse, 1532 Johnston Rd. Performances are at 8 p.m., with a June 15 matinee at 2:30 p.m.