"Barefoot in the Park"
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Matt Whalen / Sunday, January 15, 2023 / Categories: Past Shows, News

"Barefoot in the Park"

Event date: 7/10/1969 2:00 AM - 7/20/1969 3:00 AM Export event

 

Naperville's Summer Place players couldn't have picked a funnier opus than they did for the opening of the third season of their summer theatre on Thursday night.

They picked Neil Simon's "Barefoot in the Park," which has been played here, there, and everywhere, of course, but in the hands of a first-rate director and a talented cast of home-town folk it's just as funny as it is on the professional stage.

The first play of the current five-production season will be repeated in the company's big tent near North Central College's field house on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights of this week and Thursday through Sunday of the coming week.

"The Summer Place" has the first-rate director - Dr. Donald Shanower of North Central - and it has a talented cast that play "Barefoot" for everything it has in it. But they play it with a light, clever bounce - at top speed - with lots of subtleties, so in seconds you forget you're watching actors in a play and sit there laughing at the antics of that phenomenon called people. 

Director Shanower must be living right these days because he was given the providential opportunity to pick Ann Barfels as the six-day bride, Corie. Mrs. Barfels played Corie with a beautiful light tough and obvious understanding (she's really a six-week bride herself!) and it's obvious too that she's been well schooled in the theatre. I hope Dr. Shanower finds roles for her over and over.

The role of Corie's square young stuffed-shirt husband went to Richard Gietl and Gietl made him just as square as Author Simon said he should be - maybe even a little bit more.

Edward Carroll did a thoroughly believable job as the ne'er-do-well upstairs neighbor -everybody knows somebody like that, I'm sure - and Carroll played his funny lines with skill. John Belushi did the telephone man who pants up the five-no, six-flights of stairs to Corie's new apartment and offers philosophy as well as service, and he too is a skilled actor. He earned special applause he got after his third-act exit. 

Corie's mother, according to Author Simon, is supposed to be an affluent New York matron who likes fine clothes and her pink pills and her ailments and her status as a mother-in-law, but Director Shanower and Shirley Evans didn't see her in that light. She didn't look and sound affluent as the lavish wedding gifts said she was and she didn't sound much surprised when she found herself in the condition Simon puts her in for the wind-up.

 It's a very funny play, as you well know, and Shanower and his cast do it full-tilt but with exceeding skill, as delicate balancing acts have to be done. 

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About The Summer Place

The Summer Place, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and receives our funding through sales of affordably priced tickets, program ads, concessions, grants, and from the kind donations of our patrons.

We are Naperville's Community TheatreSM. Our all-volunteer board, crew and cast work hard together to produce entertaining plays and musicals for the Naperville area. We invite you to get involved!

The Summer Place, Inc.
P.O. Box 2394
Naperville, IL 60567
630-355-7969
info@summerplacetheatre.org

 

Partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

 

And by a grant from the Naperville Special Events & Cultural Amenities Fund.

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