Some props to my friend, Elaine Liner. Elaine made her acting debut (at least since college!) last year in her one-woman show Sweater Curse (one of my favorite productions of 2013), and barely two months later, she’s represented on the boards again — not as an actor, but as a playwright. (She also penned Sweater.)
Finishing School, which finishes up at the Bath House Cultural Center Saturday, had a troubled launch. She wrote it with the wonderful Larry Randolph in mind, but he fell ill on opening eve, and the producer, One-Thirty Productions (which produces only matinees that begin, natch, at 1:30 p.m.), decided to forge ahead with a replacement in Larry’s role (Gordon Fox). I was finally able to catch it this week, with only two performances to go (today and tomorrow), but I’m glad I took the time. Even if I didn’t like Elaine already, I’d like this play: It’s smart, observant (about the hazards of growing old, and how entering one’s twilight years doesn’t mean abandoning love) and rat-a-tat hilarious, with zingers that a punnier critic might call one-Liners. Ahem. Who’m I kidding, I am a punny critic.
Fox is actually doing fine in the role of a 94-year-old who befriends a younger resident of a retirement home (John S. Davies), who’s not sure what life hold. Catherine DuBord and Ellen Locy provide some vibrancy in smaller roles, and even B.J. Cleveland manages a cameo (unseen) as the home’s activities director on the public address center. Seems like watching plays professionally has given Liner insight on how to write them, too.