Prelude to a Kiss is better the second time around

By Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid
Staff Writer

Some things improve with a second showing, or a second staging. Repertory Actors Workshop's production of Craig Lucas' Prelude to a Kiss is stronger in its second incarnation.

It was originally presented last December with different cast members in some of the roles. Gone are Jim Abbott, who played Tom in the original production, as well as Lisa Marie Nakamura (Aunt Dorothy), Andrew Tripoli (Dr. Boyle), Emily Jo Testa (ensemble), Michael McClure (minister) and Patrick Jaika (waiter).

In Abbott's place is NWAAT regular Dylan Okimoto, last seen in Jean Davies Okimoto's Uncle Hideki, and in Andrew Tripoli's place is Duane Mortensen, making his acting debut in this play. There have been other changes as well.

Most important, though, is how the much stronger the production seemed last Saturday, with lead actors T.J. Langley (Peter Hoskins) and Colleen Parker (Rita Boyle) fairly bursting with romantic energy. Their roles, as two lovers who are tested when a young bride switches souls with an old man at her wedding, were the strongest parts of the play. Also making a return engagement from last December's production is E. Dee Torrey as the old man. His is an understated performance that enhances that of Parker and Langley, so that these three become the focal point of the action.

David Hsieh's direction moves the play at just the right speed, so that the audience is able to fully absorb the dilemmas faced bt Peter as he tries to sort out the aftermath of the soul exchange. The play lagged at times during the first production, particularly when Peter meets Rita's family for the first time. This second time around, the performers bring more emotion and depth to their characters. The comedic parts are much more effective, and the awkwardness between Peter and the old man (who is really Rita), is so much more poignant.

Okimoto is as good as ever in the role created by Jim Abbott last December. His ironic sense of humor and facial expressions, especially when Peter relates his suspicions about his wife, are hilarious. Actors Stephanie Santos, Melvin Inouye, Kathy Hsieh and Maydene Pang all bring to the play solid performances that are funny, interesting and delightful.

This production benefits the Northwest AIDS Foundation, the Seattle Fringe Festival, Music Theatre Works, and numerous other local charities. For more information, call 364-3283.

August 28, 1995


© 1995 Seattle Gay News. Reprinted with permission by ReAct.

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