Springtime, the traditional time for weddings, was the season for the Theatre Company of Saugus production of The Marriage of Bette and Boo, by Christopher Durang. Considered by many to be Durang’s best play, The Marriage of Bette and Boo is admittedly biographical, and is based on his parents’ marriage. Described as “a remorselessly sad, achingly funny assault on the vanities, inanities and insanities of family life”, this irreverant, dark comedyis told in 33 (mostly) quick scenes, and is known for the mixture of seriousness and comedy in its tone. The original production in 1985 won many Obie awards.
The TCS production was directed by UMass-Boston professor Laura Schrader, who also directed Saugus’ multiple-award-winning production of Interview in 2002. The production was generously sponsored by the East Boston Savings Bank. The full-length version of Bette and Boo was presented in Saugus on May 11, 12, 18, 19, and 20, 2007.
A one-hour cut version was performed in front of a small but very responsive audience on 10 June 2007 at the EMACT Festival, an annual competition sponsored by the Eastern Massachusetts Association of Community Theaters, held at the Groton School in Groton, Mass. during 8-10 June. The adjudicators’ comments were somewhat critical, but apparently they did admire our work, since we were nominated ten times, and we won three awards.
- The Best Supporting Actor award went to Brian Dion for his portrayal of Father Donnally and the Doctor.
- The Set Design award went to Laura Schrader for Bette and Boo.
- Our production won the Special Adjudicator’s award given in recognition of notable theatrical Risk Taking.
We were also nominated for the following awards:
- Best Supporting Actress, Kris Reynolds as Soot
- Best Supporting Actor, Larry Segel as Paul
- Excellence in Make-up Design, the Cast
- Outstanding Costume Design, Heather Phillips and Rocky Graziano
- Stage Management, Monica Bruno
- Excellence in Ensemble Performance, the Cast
- Best Director, Laura Schrader
(Congratulations to the big winner of the festival, Raisin in the Sun, presented by the Footlight Club. They won Best Supporting Actress, Best Actor, Best Actress, Ensemble, Best Director, and Best Show.)
The cast of the TCS production of The Marriage of Bette and Boo included:
- Matt, the narrator, representing the playwright … Rocky Graziano
- Bette Brennan, his overly optimistic mother … Lisa Scopa
- Margaret Brennan, Bette’s dominating mother … Rosemary DeGregorio
- Paul Brennan, Bette’s father, whom no one can understand … Larry Segel
- Joanie Brennan, her bitter sister … Carolina Lanney
- Emily Brennan, her apologetic sister with a cello … Heather Phillips
- Boo Hudlocke, the narrator’s alcoholic father … Michael Franco
- Karl Hudlocke, Boo’s abrasive father … John Pease
- Soot Hudlocke, Boo’s dutiful but nutty mother … Kris Reynolds
- Father Donnally, the evasive priest, and theindifferent Doctor … Brian Dion
The stage managers were Monica Bruno and Laura Freitas. The Producer Team included Rosemary DeGregorio, Carolina Lanney, and Lisa Scopa. Props, Hair, and Makeup by Amanda Allen. James Wlodyka was the Sound Technician.
For more information about the show, visit: http://www.christopherdurang.com/FullMarriage.htm.