A dark play about sex, love and infidelity closes out Vero Voce’s inaugural season.
“Closer,” a 1997 play written by Patrick Marber, plays May 22 to June 8 at in Vero Voce’s Black Box Theatre in St. Charles. Show times are at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays.
“Closer” — which was made into a movie in 2004 — is about four strangers and their relationships, said David M. Rodriguez, theatrical artistic director with Vero Voce Theatre.
“I always like to describe it as a modern-day ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” he said. “The writing is brutally honest. And the way they all treat each other is horrendous, but at the same time, depending on who you are, it can hit pretty close to home.”
The play, which is set in London, examines relationships and all the pitfalls and obstacles that go along with them. It’s all about love and sex and lies.
“Basically, it’s how these four (people) fall in love and fall out of love with each other and cheat on each other and lie to each other. Anyone who has been in a relationship — or a bad one, at least — will unfortunately be able to relate to it,” he said.
It’s often known as an actor’s favorite, he said, although it’s not done very often.
“It’s a brilliant play and it’s one of my most favorite plays ever,” he said. “There are a lot of plays that aren’t done often enough and that’s what we’re trying to eventually get done over at Vero Voce.”
There are only four characters in the play: Dan, Alice, Larry and Anna. Dan meets Alice when she gets hit by a car and he rushes her to the hospital and they begin dating immediately. Dan’s a writer and she acts as his muse.
“He writes a book partially based on the stories she tells him about her life,” Rodriguez said. “Through the book being published, he needs his photo taken for the book cover, and that’s where he meets Anna, the photographer. And he’s instantly attracted to her … regardless of his relationship with Alice.”
Dan inadvertently introduces Anna to Larry, and they start dating.
Anna and Dan have an affair, which pushes Alice and Larry together.
“It’s kind of a relationship ballet,” he said. “It does have some very funny moments, but most of the funny is covered up by this honest brutalness they have toward each other, and (there are) many very uncomfortable scenes because of the honesty.
“People are so used to seeing ‘The Music Man,’” he said. “Or other shows along those lines where everyone is so happy and the villain gets his comeuppance. I can throw my cell phone right now and hit a theater doing ‘The Odd Couple.’ There’s nothing wrong with that — it’s probably the finest comedy ever written. But it’s been done. This is 2014 — let’s start embracing all of these brilliant shows that have been released to us.”
“Closer” is for mature audiences, he warned. There will be vulgar language and themes.
“The Village Theatre Guild over in Glen Ellyn just proved an edgier show can be done right and be successful. They just wrapped ‘Superior Donuts’ … and they sold out pretty much every single show. They proved it can be done and should be done. I gave them a standing ovation.”
He hopes that audiences feel like “flies on the wall in an apartment when two people are breaking up.”
The cast include Jen Torchia of Western Springs as Anna, Chris Bruzzini of Melrose Park as Larry, Anthony Berg of Chicago as Dan and Mary Doctor of Aurora as Alice.