CATSKILL – When playwright Kieron Barry and his longtime girlfriend broke up, he was stunned. It took him a long time to process the ‘why’ and the ‘what did I do wrong’. To try and sort it out, he wrote.
“Every time I had a new thought,” he says, “it was a clue.” Inevitably, the diary grew to “gargantuan proportions”. After six months, he says, “I thought, you’re doing a lot of writing about this and, coincidentally, you’re a playwright. Clearly, the idea had been planted.”
The result is “The Official Adventures of Kieron and Jade” a comedy with its world premiere taking place at Bridge Street Theatre in Catskill on April 20th. Performances run Thursday through Sunday for two consecutive weeks. Evenings at 7:30. Sunday matinees at 2. The Thursday show on April 20th and the Sunday matinee on April 23rd are “Pay-What-You-Can”. For reservations, go to http://official.brownpapertickets.com or call 800.838.3006. Further information regarding the performances can be obtained by contacting the theater at 518.943.3818 or going to their website www.bridgestreettheatre.org.
Co-starring as Kieron is Jason Guy, an actor whose resume says he “has suffered terribly in over 60 professional productions ranging from Shakespeare to tap dancing (sometimes both at once)”. A Brit, like Barry, Jason has just the right combination of humor and self-doubt to portray this highly personal reflection about a universal experience.
Guy’s co-star, too, is uniquely qualified for her role. Or, maybe it should be “roles”. Bonita Jackson, who appeared at Bridge Street Theatre in Empty Valuables last season, loves multi-character performances. Lucky for her. “The Official Adventures of Kieron and Jade” calls upon Jackson to create more than 15 different characters. Director John Sowle says she has defined some of these multiple roles with foreign accents: a British director, an Indian doctor and an Austrian therapist (“Of course,” he says.)
Despite the sometimes serious nature of the subject matter, the play is written in the rapid-fire style usually associated with 1930s screwball comedies like the film His Girl Friday. “What could be more awful than listening to somebody complain about himself [on stage],” says Barry. “Those films were successful because viewers enjoyed two people talking together briskly and cleverly. This had to be a comedy and have that lightness of touch.”