Meet the Riches. But don’t forget your body armor.
An upper class couple living the late 1980s yuppie dream in suburban Minnesota, David (Dana Scott Galloway) and Carolyn (Adele Robey) Rich commemorate their 31st anniversary at the hotel in Red Wing where they honeymooned.
David, an advertising exec who is big on setting the stage, is disappointed that it isn’t the same room where they spent their wedding night more than three decades ago. Carolyn, a speech consultant, doesn’t seem to care either way.
In the course of an hour, where they ostensibly are killing time before joining friends for a celebratory dinner, the Riches’ marriage blows apart.
David wants to make love, cuddle, and talk. Carolyn drops an A-bomb on those plans—she wants a divorce. Period.
Lee Blessing’s play, capably directed by Paul Douglas Michnewicz, is a classic example of how men are from Mars, women from Venus, to borrow a title from the popular self-help book of the 80s. David is a fixer. He wants to talk it out, hash out solutions to their marriage and not stop until things are resolved.
Carolyn just wants to be heard, understood. She doesn’t want her marriage repaired. She just wants out. Her reasons for divorce are rather inarticulate—something about feeling like a black hole in outer space and then there’s the matter of not liking David’s nose (and he’s even willing to change that).
Her insubstantial and somewhat fickle motives prove to be nearly the play’s undoing as their arguing escalates. The action moves from tart comedy to throwing furniture and objects around and destroying the room, which makes sense given David’s frustration and overzealous nature. But Carolyn is such a placid cipher—could it be depression?—that you question why someone so matter-of-fact is now moved to trashing the place.
closes August 7, 2016
Details and tickets
We move into a whole other galaxy of implausibility when they get violent. What triggered this personality change from two Minnesota nice folks to gladiators slugging it out? As for the wackadoodle ending, the play by this time is so driven by scatterbrain logic you just shrug and accept it.
Galloway is fresh and appealing as the can-do David, who wants to win and be on top no matter what it takes. His physical size and bluster is a neat comic foil to Robey’s petite composure as Carolyn. Her dry delivery of Blessing’s minefield dialogue brings out unexpected humor as you find yourself laughing at the most awful things.
Speaking of awful, the play is set in the 1980s, but the Greed Decade costumes are distractingly lurid for a tasteful Midwestern couple. It is a clever touch, however, to have them wearing the same colors and style clothes, as long-standing couples often do.
Riches by Lee Blessing . Director: Paul Douglas Michnewicz . Featuring: Dana Scott Galloway, Adele Robey . Set Design: Harlan Penn. Lighting Design: Johnathan Alexander. Costume Design: Donna Breslin. Sound Design: David Lamont Wilson. Properties Design: Gregory Jackson. Dialect Coach: Tonya Beckman. Fight Director: Cliff Williams. Production Manager: Camille Kashaka. Stage Manager: Erin Syring. Produced by Anacostia Playhouse . Reviewed by Jayne Blanchard.