Romance, Romance

Book and lyrics by Barry Harman and music by Keith Herrmann

Directed by Dominic J. Cunetto
May 25, 26, 27, and 28, 1995
McComas Hall Theatre
Mississippi State University

Featuring – Joe Evans, Debby Funderburk, Madeline Golden, L. Lincoln Johnson, Sandi Sadler Johnson, and Marcus Vowell

In nineteenth century Vienna, Alfred von Wilmers and Josephine Benniger are unhappy about their lives. He is a wealthy young man, tired of women only wanting him for his money, and she is a woman used to wanting men for their money. Confiding their woes to their respective best friends in letters, they both try various ways to sort out their problems. They each seperately decide to dress down and go walking in the park, hoping for something different. They of course meet each other. She pretends to be a poor girl working in a millinary shop, and he tells her he is a starving poet. They each fall madly in love with the others' assumed persona. Their romance is puntcuated by two ghostly lovers, Him and Her (who also portray other minor parts). Can love survive the revelation of the truth?

In the present, best friends Monica and Sam with their respective spouses Lenny and Barb have rented a summer home in the Hamptons for vacation. Lenny and Barb, exhausted from the day, go to bed, leaving the friends to talk. The conversation starts with the realization that they are proof platontic relationships between men and women are possible. But the unseen "ghosts" of their spouses aren't so sure. The talk soon turns to the idea of having affairs, though they both recognize that they love their spouses very much. The air becomes uncomfortable as the two "platonic" friends realize that they are interested in more than just friendship. They actually leave to indulge their passion, but decide against it and return, much to the relieve of Barb and Lenny's dream figures. While Monica is scared it has destroyed their friendship, Sam asks her to "Leave me my romantic notions."

In Act I, Jake struggles with the impending breakdown of his second marriage through the assistance of his sister, analyst, his daughter both at ages 12 and 21, his deceased first wife and the internal incarnation of his current wife.

Act II finds Jake six months later and dating fervently, though badly. He is also wrestling for control of his sanity with these same representations of the real women in his life when a call and imminent visit from Maggie (the now estranged second wife) puts the struggle into overdrive. With humor, sarcasm and wit, the ladies help Jake to see that any relationships he could possibly "write" in his own mind will never be as fulfilling as the one hope for real connection he has in Maggie.

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