The name Jerry Mayer has become synonymous with comedy – and with good cause. After a long career writing scripts for hit television comedy shows like “M*A*S*H” and “All in the Family,” playwright Jerry Mayer transferred his manifold skills to stage plays. In the mid-1980’s, he wrote his first play, Almost Perfect, which premiered in 1986 in the Santa Monica Playhouse and ran for two years, earning Mayer a Drama-Logue Award for comedy playwriting. On a roll, Mayer authored a succession of critically acclaimed original plays. In 2017, the Santa Monica Playhouse decided to present A LOVE AFFAIR twenty-six years after its debut at the very same venue.
A LOVE AFFAIR tells the tale of a couple celebrating their thirty-eighth year of marriage. From their honeymoon in the 1950’s to the New Age 1990’s, they have weathered tsunamis focused on success, failure, sex, fidelity, money, child rearing, and all the other issues that offer happiness, stress, and occasional misery in the average marriage.
It’s the 1990’s, and this couple isn’t so blissful. True, the entire economy is faltering, but it has hit them in an especially painful solar plexus. They are being forced to sell their Malibu dream house and move to a small condo without a view just to make ends meet. What more perfect time to reminisce about better times – like, for example, that dreamy honeymoon in Hawaii. But the world has a way of intruding in marital bliss; and this gentle, in-love couple is no exception. What follows are the ups and downs and surprises that life has a way of throwing at each of us. From youth and innocence to well-seasoned aging, the audience gets to experience life along with this exceptional pair.
Talented actors Chris DeCarlo (who doubles as director) and Evelyn Rudie are the older versions of this struggling couple, while Jacob Cooper and Andrea Adnoff are their younger counterparts. Past and present mingle to paint a brilliant – and very funny – portrait of real life seen from different perspectives and made more poignant by a 38-year distance definitely lending some enchantment to the view. Author Jerry Mayer keeps the laughs flowing in his semi-autobiographical account of a marriage meant to last. Director Chris DeCarlo has a knack for keeping the pace fast and funny. Rachel Galper gallops through the multiple characters who rise and fall in the saga.
Eric Jon’s set, lights, and video design are a joy to behold. Coupled with Ashley Hayes’ costumes, A LOVE AFFAIR manages to span the years with ease and accuracy. The audience is lucky indeed to have the opportunity to join in the Jerry-Mayer-A-Thon presented by the Santa Monica Playhouse from 2015 to 2020. Of the nine plays written by Mayer, eight had their world premieres at the Santa Monica Playhouse; and seven were directed by Chris DeCarlo. Clearly, the cast and crew of the Playhouse have a very special knack and light touch which is just right for Mayer’s hilarious look at life and love.
A LOVE AFFAIR runs through March 25, 2018, with performances at 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays and at 3:30 p.m. on Sundays. The Santa Monica Playhouse is located at 1211 Fourth Street, Santa Monica, CA. Tickets are $35 (discounts for seniors, students, the military, and couples married over 38 years – who come with marriage licenses in hand!) For information and reservations, call 310-394-9779 ext. 1 or go online.