LEWISTON -- An "un-romantic comedy" is how Maine playwright John Cariani describes his latest work, "Love/Sick," which opens Oct. 18 at The Public Theatre.
Cariani, who wrote "Almost, Maine," takes another look at the subject of love, but this time he examines it in a suburban setting rather than in rural Maine. It follows the same structure as his extremely popular first play with four actors playing multiple roles in a series of funny and bittersweet love stories.
Christopher Schario, the theater's executive/artistic director, said "Love/Sick" revolves around people who are already in relationships, rather than meeting for the first time. "Anyone who has ever been in any kind of relationship will recognize themselves in this play," Schario said. He calls it "the perfect show for imperfect lovers."
The situations in "Love/Sick" range from a bride who wears Isotoners to keep her feet warm, to a man who loses his hearing every time the words "I love you" are spoken. It deals with the complications that happen once you start throwing children, careers and expectations into the mix of a committed relationship.
Schario first met the playwright six years ago when Cariani came to the theater's production of "Almost, Maine." They have stayed in touch since then, and this staging of "Love/Sick" offers Cariani an opportunity to finalize the script as it approaches publication.
"He sent us a rewrite as we were planning for this production," Schario said, "and we got another rewrite just two days before we went into rehearsals."
Schario has a special respect for Cariani's ability to draw upon his acclaimed acting experience in his scripts. "Someone who has been an actor knows how to write what comes out of the actor's mouth," Schario said. Those latest rewrites are "significant" in the play's final development, he said.
Cariani received a Tony nomination and won the Outer Critics Circle award for best featured actor in a musical for his role as Motel the tailor in the 2004 Broadway revival of "Fiddler on the Roof."
"Not only is John a wonderful playwright and person," Schario said, "but 'Almost, Maine' has gone on to become one of the most popular and most produced plays in the country. I think it's safe to say that John has become one of Maine's most valuable assets."
The four actors in "Love/Sick" will play various combinations of couples. Heather Dilly, William Peden, Sarah Corey and Torsten Hillhouse are all professional actors from New York with wide backgrounds of professional experience in theater, film and TV.
Corey appeared in The Public Theatre's production of "Beau Jest." Dilly has been seen by TPT audiences in "Secrets of a Soccer Mom," "Indoor/Outdoor" and "Gun-Shy." Hillhouse has been seen in productions at the Theater at Monmouth.
The 10 scenes in "Love/Sick" all take place in a house. The set for "Love/Sick" is designed by Dan Bilodeau, lighting is by Bart Garvey and costumes are by Hannah Brown.
"Love/Sick" kicks off TPT's 23rd season with shows on Oct 18-20 and 24-27. Thursday and Friday shows are at 7:30 p.m. Saturday shows are at 8 p.m. and Sunday shows are at 2 p.m. There is an added matinee at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26.
Tickets for adults are $20. Season subscriptions, individual tickets, gift certificates, morning student matinees and group rates (for parties of 10 or more) are on sale.
For information and tickets, call The Public Theatre Box Office at 782-3200 or go online to www.thepublictheatre.org.
The Public Theatre is at 31 Maple St. in downtown Lewiston.
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