Friday, December 26, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Local playwright’s debut hits the mark

www.facebook.com/amyshumanphoto

From left, Dan Sattel, Renee D. Mercer, Jason Hammond, Analise Langford-Clark, Scott Martin, and Patricia Glass star in "Second-Best Bed," opening at Woodland Opera House on Friday. Amy Shuman Photography/Courtesy photo

By
From page A9 | March 25, 2014 |

Check it out
What: “Second-Best Bed”
Where: Woodland Opera House, 340 Second St.
When: Through March 30, 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays
Tickets: $25 adults, $23 for seniors (62-years and older) and students, $12 for children 17 and under; balcony – $15 adult, $7 for children
Info: Visit www.woodlandoperahouse.org

When the curtain goes up on a stage and you see three doors on the left side and three doors on the right, you are pretty certain that madness, mayhem and hilarity will ensue.

Woodland Opera House’s world premiere of “Second-Best Bed” by Sacramento playwright Matthew Abergel does not disappoint.

Once you stop trying to make any logic whatsoever out of the fact that five people — an American student, her gay best friend, a British professor, an over-the-hill British actress trying to make a comeback, and a Jewish woman — just happen to show up on the same day at some obscure rural British B&B, run by a creepy guy with an ax in his hand, all looking for a final play that it is rumored Shakespeare might have written and hidden before his death, then you can just enjoy the comedy on its own merits … and there is a lot to enjoy.

“Second-Best Bed” is Abergel’s first full-length play, though he has been working on it ever since he was in grad school. Appearing as the nervous Frederick in Woodland Opera House’s production of “Noises Off!” rekindled his desire to write his own play, and with the help and support of writers’ groups in Sacramento and San Francisco he was able to complete it and present it to former Opera House Executive Director Jeff Kean, who agreed to produce it.

The show is directed by Abergel’s husband, Robert Cooner, who also directed (among other plays), that infamous “Noises Off!” for Woodland, so he knows how to wring the most comedy out of a script.

The story begins when Judy Cobb (Analise Langford-Clark, who played Miss Tweed in Woodland’s recent “Something’s Afoot”) and her BFF Jerry Jackson (Scott Martin) arrive at the Cock and Bull B&B. The guy in charge, Toby Fowler (Dan Sattel), is a little odd and gives them unpleasant thoughts of the Bates Motel.

Naturally, when things are at their creepiest, a storm begins to form and they realize they are trapped at the B&B for the night.

Enter Dr. Charles Kennington (the always hilarious Jason Hammond), a professor of English literature who arrives all full of bluff and bluster.

The cozy little group is rounded out by Penelope Brooks (Patricia Glass), an over-the-hill British actress, and Goldie Goldstein (Renee D. Mercer), who drips Jewishness as elaborately as Scott Martin swishes his way through the gay character of Jerry — both enough to be easily recognizable, but yet without making either character a caricature.

Though everyone is trying to keep it secret, it turns out they are all looking for the elusive manuscript and trying to find a way into Toby’s bedroom to check to see if it might be hidden in his bed (more suspension of disbelief that a manuscript hidden 400 years ago would still be there!).

Act 2 kept the audience laughing almost throughout the entire act, as there are suspected kidnappings, life threats with unlikely weapons, unbelievable costumes (kudos to costume designer Denise Miles), unexpected couple pairings and, always, the search for the elusive manuscript. To say more would spoil the fun.

If this is an example of what we can expect from Matthew Abergel in the future, I would say he has all the makings of a popular playwright, and I look forward to seeing his next work.

Comments

comments

.

News

Exchange students bring the world to Davis

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Pastor has many plans for CA House

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Transit survey: 47 percent ride bikes to campus

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Davis Bike Club hears about British cycling tour

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Pick up a Davis map at Chamber office

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Sierra Club calendars on sale Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Special holiday gifts

By Sue Cockrell | From Page: A3

Woodland-Davis commute bus service expands

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Learn fruit tree tips at free class

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Explorit: Get a rise out of science

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4

 
NAMI meeting offers family support

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Yoga, chanting intro offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
.

Forum

Blamed for her sister’s rage

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
How much for the calling birds?

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Steve Sack cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

 
Many ensured a successful parade

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Thanks for putting food on the table

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
.

Sports

Patterson is college football’s top coach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Clippers get a win over Golden State

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Two more for the road for 9-1 Aggie men

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
NBA roundup: Heat beat Cavs in LeBron’s return to Miami

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

‘Unbroken': A bit underwhelming

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
Folk musicians will jam on Jan. 2

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

.

Business

Passat: Roomy, affordable sedan with German engineering

By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

James J. Dunning Jr.

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Floyd W. Fenocchio

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, December 26, 2014 (set 2)

By Creator | From Page: B7

 
Comics: Thursday, December 26, 2014 (set 1)

By Creator | From Page: A9