Lewis Black is a perfectionist.
That's what the audience learned after Wednesday's performance of “One Slight Hitch” at The Loft Theatre in downtown Dayton.
The opportunity to meet a playwright is always greatly appreciated, and Black's coming to town for a performance turned out to be quite insightful. Following the show, he and the cast answered questions from the audience until there were no more questions asked.
Black wrote “One Slight Hitch” 35 years ago. Since that time, he's been revising and tweaking. When asked what it's like to see a performance of his own play, Black began by praising others: “It's a terrific cast.”
The audience agreed. Then Black added: “I wish I could perfect the play … I have to sit there and beat myself or it wouldn't be fun.”
Having started out as a playwright before launching his stand-up career, Black described his first plays as “surreal, dark comedies,” which eluded success. He explained that at one point he told himself, “I've got to write a play that will sell.” That's when he wrote “One Slight Hitch.”
It's partially autobiographical – about an ex-boyfriend who shows up on the wedding day. Black told the audience that his ex-girlfriend, who maintained throughout their three-year relationship that she'd never get married, found someone new and got married within months. Black wasn't invited to the wedding, and it was obvious from his telling of the story that the snub broke his heart. So he imagined what it would be like had he shown up for the wedding, then worked through those thoughts and emotions artistically.
What is the result? “It was fantastic!” said Dave Foubert of Yellow Springs, after the show. “I think each of those actors were perfect in their parts. I think the playwright gave each of them great lines.”
“I thought it was wonderful humor,” Diane Foubert said. “I laughed through it all, beginning to end.”
“It was probably one of the best shows The Loft has had,” Dave Foubert added.
Someone asked what Black was working on next. “Writing my version of 'Our Town,' which is pretty demented,” he answered. Black said he was also working on a book: “The book is about writing this play.”
The cast was asked what it was like to have Black in the audience. Rita Rehn who plays Delia, the mother-of-the-bride,” said it was like “special sauce.” Alex Sunderhaus, who plays the role of the bride's sister, Melanie, compared it to opening night.
With the cast hot and firing on all cylinders, the play runs through Sunday, so there's still time to see it. It's a superbly crafted script despite the fact Black will likely never think so.
WANT TO GO?
WHAT: 'One Slight Hitch,' a romantic comedy by Lewis Black
WHEN: Through Sunday, April 24
WHERE: The Loft Theatre, 128 N. Main St., downtown Dayton, next to the Victoria Theatre
TICKETS: Through Ticket Center Stage: www.ticketcenterstage.or, 937-228-3630 or in person at the Schuster Performing Arts Center, across the street.
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