Do we ever really know when we are truly happy?
That is the question beneath Alan Ayckbourn’s fast-paced comedy of the well-to-do Stratton family in THE TIME OF MY LIFE, tossed in with a bit of dysfunctional British family absurdity.
English playwright Alan Ayckbourn has written and produced more than eighty plays over sixty years and is a master satirist of middle-class manners often compared to Noel Coward and Harold Pinter. He draws upon his own upbringing to paint scathing portraits of people leading dull, mechanical lives, straddling the line between comedy and farce. His plays have been translated into more than 25 foreign languages and have been performed all over the world. Harold Clurman, writing in the Nation, called Ayckbourn "a master hand at turning the bitter apathy, the stale absurdity which most English playwrights now find characteristic of Britain's lower-middle-class existence into hilarious comedy.”
The Setting for THE TIME OF MY LIFE is the family's favorite ethnic restaurant where life's events have been celebrated for decades despite the restaurant’s less than stellar service. The play opens at the birthday party for 54-year-old matriarch Laura Stratton (Mo Hart) already in progress and filled with lively chatter between the ever-judgmental Laura and her successful businessman husband Gerry (Bruce Holloway), their older son Glen (Harral Hamilton) and his wife Stephanie (Sadie Fischesser), to be soon joined by the late-arriving younger, flustered son Adam (Tyler Strickland) and his newest fling/girlfriend Maureen (Heather Martell). The Waiter (Sherman Morrison) plays all the waiters Past, Present and Future, with appropriate attitudes you will quickly recognize.
The scenes move between three different tables allowing Ayckbourn to have fun with time and space, shifting from the present to the past to the future and back to the present in the same restaurant. This seemingly normal family’s judgmental opinions, infidelities, and disappointing children are exposed in awkward fits, situational misconceptions, and flailing arguments keep the audience riveted as they piece together Glen's troubled marriage, Adam's insecurities, and the parent's self-serving existence.
While the family struggles with their own pursuit of happiness, it takes a tragedy to make certain Stratton family members and in turn, the audience, appreciate that perhaps we don't always recognize the moments we are truly happy until it is perhaps too late.
Performances are Fridays and Saturday evenings at 7:30pm, September 6th – 28th.
Tickets are $15 General Admission, $8 for all Students.