SARASOTA — Is laughter really the best medicine? The popular adage is put to the test in this hysterically funny, one-woman tour de force about picking up the pieces of a broken heart and beginning life again, My Brilliant Divorce. In its only second major American regional production, Asolo Rep’s Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards directs celebrated Broadway star Mary Testa, a two-time Tony Award nominee, as Angela, the 40-something housewife blindsided by her philandering husband’s desertion in Aron’s engaging, mid-life crisis comedy.
Why is this play titled My Brilliant Divorce? Edwards offers up this simple explanation.
“Divorce is never easy. It can at times be very bitter, but as you will find out in this play, when one window of opportunity closes, another excellent one opens, and the light shines in,” said Edwards.
Angela Kennedy-Lipsky is the middle-aged American wife of Max, a Brit who has run off with his lover and left Angela high and dry in London. Once a professional window dresser, Angela gave up her career to be a wife and mother and now finds herself adrift in a sea of shifty solicitors, Christmas on her own, and her confidence at an all-time low. Should she fight to keep her husband? Or should she sign the divorce papers and move on? Bizarre dates, a trip to the adult toy store, a telephone call to a suicide hotline, a near reconciliation with the ex, then a singles weekend that brings about a surprise meeting and a glimmer of hope.
Although a one-woman play, Angela brings other characters to the stage in telling her story, mimicking her disapproving mother, an Irish woman who telephones from Dublin, an indulgent doctor who treats her many health complaints—mostly imagined and her unsympathetic divorce lawyer. Angela does have one loyal companion who joins her onstage during the show, her dog Dexter, a shaggy Skye terrier (who in this production, is a stuffed animal mounted on a toy car chassis, operated by remote control).
“Mary Testa is such a wonderfully gifted actress, I could think of no one better to play the part of Angela," said director Michael Donald Edwards. "Mary is witty, charming, feisty—hilariously so—and at the same time, vulnerable and engaging. Audiences in Sarasota will identify with her and they will love her.”
Though it is not as well known in the U.S, the play has gained world-wide acclaim since premiering at the Druid Theatre in Galway, Ireland in 2001 and was later transferred to the West End of London, where it was nominated for the 2004 Olivier Award for Best Entertainment. It has been produced or is awaiting production in 33 countries around the world, having played in such diverse locations as Athens, Greece and Nairobi, Kenya. The play made its American debut in 2012 at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, New York.
My Brilliant Divorce opens on Wednesday, June 26 with an 8 p.m. curtain. Opening night will be preceded by two preview performances on Sunday, June 23 at 2:00 p.m. and Tuesday, June 25 at 7:30 p.m. The show runs through July 14, 2013 in Asolo Rep’s Mertz Theatre located in The FSU Center for the Performing Arts.
Ticket prices for all performances range from $20 to $72. Tickets can be purchased at the Asolo Repertory Theatre Box Office in person or by calling 800.361.8388 or 941.351.8000. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.asolorep.org. The Asolo Repertory Theatre and Box Office are located in the FSU Performing Arts Center adjacent to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art at 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34243. Parking is free.
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