The Community College of Rhode Island Players will present the regional debut of “A Contemporary American’s Guide to a Successful Marriage”, a comedy by Robert Bastron that played to rave reviews and sold-out houses at the 2009 New York International Fringe Festival, at the CCRI Flanagan Campus in Lincoln next month.
Set against the backdrop of the late 1950s and told in the style of the social guidance films of that era, the play follows two young couples from Iowa, the Lawrences and the Henrys, who marry on the same day. Neither couple has much idea what it is getting into, but both are assisted by an omniscient narrator who is happy to inform them exactly how they're expected to live their traditional American lives.
The characters and audience soon discover that gone are the days when life was simple and social guidance films could let young people know what was expected of their lives, and the perfect relationships each couple had hoped for do not work out as expected. As time goes on and the roles of men and women change, the narrator struggles with the couples on how exactly to maintain a successful marriage. Soon, the clichés fall away, worlds collide, romances shift and everybody starts to dream of new adventures.
Critics have praised Bastron’s “complex and intelligent script that is both laugh-out-loud funny and surprisingly touching and relatable.” The CCRI Players have produced two other plays – “Mary Brigit Poppleton Is Writing a Memoir” in 2008 and “Cephalopod” in 2011 – from the New York International Fringe Festival.
Bert Silverberg is director. Set design is by Luke J. Sutherland; costume design is by Jeffrey A. Butterworth; lighting design is by Mick Jones; and sound design is by Theodore R. Clement. The student cast includes Erin Archer, James Gracik and Emily Mabrouk of Providence; Aisha Stewart and Nicole Hoyt of Pawtucket; Ryan N. Burniston of Warwick; Brittany Boudreau of Woonsocket; Billy Flynn of Cranston; Anthony John Caraman of North Providence; and Russ Herman of Coventry. Joining the cast is Warwick resident Aidan Desjarlais, the 8-year-old daughter of CCRI Theatre alumna and former CCRI Players president Robin Cary Desjarlais. Branigan Duguay of Warwick is the stage manager.
Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday to Saturday, March 1, 2 and 3, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 4, at the Flanagan Campus, 1762 Louisquisset Pike, Lincoln. Tickets cost $9 for the general public and $7 for students and seniors citizens. For reservations, call 401-825-2219 at any time.