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A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Divorce
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A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO DIVORCE – Theatre Review
By Ethlie Ann Vare - July 10, 2022
The HOLLYWOOD TIMES

A funny thing happened on the way to the Sky Pilot theater company’s production of Jeff Gould’s new play: It was originally scheduled to premiere in March, 2020. And then guess what? Frankly, though, if you took out the smartphones and the four-letter words, it could as easily have debuted in 1985. Think Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf… if it were written by Neil Simon instead of Edward Albee.

Writer Gould specializes in plays about relationships; his last was called The Marriage Zone, and his best-known is the long-running, wife-swapping-themed It’s Just Sex. So the subject is both familiar and fertile as we examine the end of three marriages. What went horribly wrong? And can we laugh at it?

There’s Carol (Laura Walker), a controlling harpy whose husband Brian (Ian Nemser) gives “wuss” a bad name. Alpha male Ken (Anthony Backman) cheats on his trophy wife Tanya (Bri Ana Wagner). Cold, sarcastic Doug (Corbin Timbrook, real-life partner of the play’s producer, Shelby Janes) hides a dark secret; his good-natured wife Angie (Marie Pettit Gregson) is a marriage and family therapist who cannot heal her own marriage.

(Note: The play is double cast. You may see an entirely different crew than I did.)

The pocket-handkerchief stage of the small (56-seat) Two Roads Theater becomes the waiting room of a divorce mediator who has been increasingly detained, thanks to a series of traffic disasters. The couples are all depending on a neutral party to work out the terms of their impending divorces from marriages that had lasted from 6 years and 25 years. In the hour and a half they are stuck there, lies will be exposed, tears will be spilled, and dick jokes will be told.

The opening audience sold out the hall and filled it with laughter, warmly receptive to the theme and the tone of the play, It was encouraging to see more than just the usual Baby Boomer cohort for local equity-waiver shows; apparently, even Millennials have relationship trouble.

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO DIVORCE
Beckman, as a blustering attorney, has the best comic timing, although the physically imposing Timbrook actually gets the best punchlines. Walker puts just the right amount of humanity into Carol, someone you would just as soon murder as divorce. Wagner gives a sly spark to a standard-issue bimbo.

No new ground is broken in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Divorce, but it’s well-made comfort food. And that’s just the ticket to return to live theater in Los Angeles.

SkyPilot Theatre Company presents – A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Divorce

Written by Jeff Gould
Directed by Marc Antonio Pritchett.

Starring Ian Nemser, Laura Walker, Anthony Backman, Bri Ana Wagner, Corbin Timbrook and Marie Pettit Gregson. Also starring Kelly DeSarla, Albert Garnica, Swisyzinna Moore, Gerald Dewey, Patricia Mizen.

Two Roads Theatre
4348 Tujunga Avenue, Studio City, CA 91604.

July 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, 31, August 6, 7, 27, 28, September 3, 4, 10, 11.

Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. Sundays at 3:00 p.m.




“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Divorce”
By Samantha Simmonds-Ronceros - 07/17/2022 - NoHo Arts

A NoHo Arts theatre review of Skypilot Theatre Company’s “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Divorce,” written by Jeff Gould, directed by Marc Antonio Pritchett and running at Two Road Theatre through September 11.

I’ve seen a couple of Jeff Gould’s very funny and very clever plays over the past few years, including “The Marriage Zone” and “It’s Just Sex.” “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Divorce” is his latest opus and has just opened a Two Roads Theatre for a three-month run.

The Skypilot Theatre Company presents and the show is peopled by members of its brilliant company of actors.

Imagine, if you will, you are in the process of a divorce. You are summoned to the mediator’s office and then made to wait for hours as the mediator is held up by various creatively engineered disasters. And, there you are, trapped with your soon to be ex-spouse and two other couples, all in various stages of contentious and debilitating breakup. Hence, the obvious need for the mediator. Probably the absolute last place you would want to ever be, but great for a play.

“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Divorce” is absolutely hilarious. And given the painful and familiar subject matter and the pressures of being thrust into rather close quarters with people who couldn’t be more different from each other, much like sitting in a theatre in fact, the similarities of these disparate characters’ pain are strikingly and entertainingly obvious.

The performances are nuanced and tender, fiery and authentic, and truly excellent. What struck the the most about the stories of each couple and the wonderfully awkward empathy they have for each other was how human all these characters are. It’s a premise full of potential drama and hilarity of course. For a playwright, it must seem like an Aladdin’s cave of searing moments of tragedy and pathos and buffoonery.

But the writer, Jeff Gould, does not go for the easy out. His humor is poignant and truthful and honest, his dramatic turns unexpected, purposeful and memorable and the director, Marc Antonio Pritchett, deftly guides these actors through these vividly written, and sadly aware characters on their difficult journey.

“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Divorce” is a deeply meaningful commentary on one of the hardest of human manoeuvres, the uncoupling. It is a warmly wrought, pithy and very moving play slyly hidden inside a comic farce. But isn’t it when we open ourselves up to the joke of a terrible stressful thing, when we learn the most about ourselves and each other?

Cast:
Ian Nemser, Laura Walker, Anthony Backman, Bri Ana Wagner, Corbin Timbrook and Marie Pettit.

When:
Running July 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, 31; August 6, 7, 27, 28; September 3, 4, 10, 11.
Saturdays at 8PM andSundays at 3PM

Where:
Two Roads Theatre
4348 Tujunga Ave, Studio City, CA 91604


A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Divorce Review – Why Do Marriages Fail?

by Elaine Mura, LASplash

Playwright Jeff Gould seems to have a special talent for writing comedies about couples. Sex and marriage have always intrigued Gould – and now he is turning to divorce. After a string of successful plays including “It’s Just Sex,” “Is There Sex After Marriage?” and “The Marriage Zone,” Gould decided it was time to examine the dynamics of marriages that don’t make it. Originally developed by SkyPilot Theatre Company and scheduled to open in March 2020, a funny thing happened on the way to the opening of A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO DIVORCE. But, not to be deterred by a little thing like a worldwide pandemic, this elusive play finally found a home at the Two Roads Theatre, where it opened to July fireworks – just a week late.

Six people sit in the stark meeting room, all waiting for a divorce mediator to settle their differences and end their misery. Like you, they begin to wonder what happened to make three once-loving couples tear their marriages asunder. In the course of some intriguing exchanges, nice guy Brian (Ian Nemser) finds out that his soon-to-be-ex Carol (Laura Walker) might have been searching for something a little friskier in their sex life. Just maybe she’s found it – at least on her cell phone. Meanwhile, they play tug-of-war over the television remote. On the other hand, attorney Ken (Anthony Backman) may have been a little too frisky for Tanya (Bri Anna Wagner), his sexy wife – that is, too frisky with the wrong partner. But the angrier they get, the hotter their relationship grows. Go figure. Meanwhile, taciturn Doug (Corbin Timbrook) bides his time with one word remarks aimed at his therapist wife Angie (Marie Pettit Gregson). Each person in the room has had some time to figure out blame, shame, and guilt with perfect precision. All the while waiting for that elusive divorce mediator who manages to do his job even when not there.

Director Marc Antonio Pritchett does a skillful job of fielding these free-for-all marital battles with an eye to their inherent humor – but also to their potentially poignant underpinnings. A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO DIVORCE is, above all, a hilarious and witty study of marriage with all its stresses and strengths. At the same time, the play is about very real, believable people facing the loss of life plans they made for their happily-ever-after, plans they never expected to end so abruptly.

Kudos to a supremely talented and professional cast who wring every chuckle and every tear out of playwright Gould’s lines. From the stingy plain set waiting for emotional volcanoes to lend it color to Douglas Gabrielle’s clever lighting pinpointing the different stages of every relationship, A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO DIVORCE knocks the ball out of the park. This is a production for everyone – dating couples, couples planning a happily-ever-after wedding, happily married couples, happily (or unhappily) divorced couples, and anyone and everyone who enjoys a good show which is entertaining, often uproarious, and enlightening as it digs into the inner workings of its characters. You’re in for a treat.

A FUNNY THINGS HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO DIVORCE runs through September 11, 2022, with performances at 8 p.m. on Saturdays and at 3 p.m. on Sundays. The Two Roads Theatre is located at 4348 Tujunga Avenue, Studio City, CA 91604. Tickets are $40.


POPULAR PLAYWRIGHT STRIKES AGAIN WITH A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO DIVORCE

WRITTEN BY LEIGH KENNICOTT (SHOWMAGCOM)

Playwright Jeff Gould hits a funny nerve again with his latest, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Divorce. Skypilot Theatre Company delivers this confection with an even-handed production, helmed by Marc Antonio Pritchett, with consistently good performances from the cast. The play is double cast, giving maximum opportunity to the membership.

Operating upon the premise that the things we used to love about someone are the very things that drive us apart, Gould shoves three couples together in a room to await an elusive mediator. In the performance I saw, Carol (Laura Walker) is a marriage counselor whose marriage to Doug (Corbin Timbrook) has gone stale; Brian (Ian Nemser) and Tanya (Bri Ana Wagner) can’t agree on anything, much less the terms of their divorce; while Ken (Anthony Backman) and Angie (Marie Pettit Gregson) can’t stop having revenge sex. In a situation somewhat reminiscent of Jean Paul Satre’s No Exit, the couples grind and growl against one another while waiting….for the mediator.

Director Pritchett keeps up the tension with his actors kaleidoscopically moving in and around against the serviceable, uncredited setting, lighted by veteran Douglas Gabrielle. Performed without an intermission, Gould’s insightful truths about love and marriage never prevent the laughs from rolling along.

Skypilot Theatre Company presents A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Divorce, playing Saturdays at 8 pm and Sundays at 3 pm until September 11, 2022, at Two Roads Theatre, 4348 Tujunga Ave., Studio City. Tickets, $40.00. Make reservations at https://divorce.brownpapertickets.com

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