By Matthew Barber
March 24 - April 15, 2006
Directed by Terry Veal
Based on the 1921 best-selling novel by Elizabeth Von Arnim, Barber fashions a
romantic comedy that begins in the gloomy days of post-WWI London. From there,
four ladies embark on a month-long holiday at an Italian villa in order to
escape their humdrum lives.
Under the wisteria vines and
sunny skies, they discover their true selves, rediscover romance and forge
All performances are in Stage Center’s arena theater, located at 400 W. Sheridan
in downtown Oklahoma City.
those who appreciate wisteria and sunshine…" reads the
opening of a London Times ad for a castle on the Mediterranean in Northern Italy
that is available to lease for the month of April. When the ad captures Lotty’s
imagination, she begins plotting her escape from rainy Hampstead. In short
order, she approaches a woman from church, Rose Arnott, to share the adventure
and the expenses. When Rose is reticent, Lotty bulldozes ahead and puts down her
personal nest egg as a deposit. Still in need of money, and convinced that Rose
will relent, Lotty composes a new ad to attract two more ladies to share the
castle and the expenses. Soon, Lady Caroline, a young socialite, and Mrs.
Graves, an imperious widow, agree to join them in Italy. Lotty and Rose announce
their departure to their flabbergasted husbands and set out.
Act Two finds the four ladies
in Italy, attended by Costanza, the Italian housekeeper. After nine days of
sunshine and boating, the women are joined by their landlord, a handsome young
artist, and through a series of surprises, Lotty and Rose’s husbands arrive. The
mix of company leads to some tests and near disasters, however the once
estranged couples reignite their flagging marriages. By play’s end, the
seemingly disparate group forms a lasting bond of friendship, and we learn that
they all will return to the castle for many years to come. In short, the Italian
enchantment that Lotty foresaw does work its magic over each of the characters
in unexpected ways.
Playwright Matthew Barber
received the 2003 John Gassner Award for Outstanding New American Play and his
adaptation was a 2003 Tony Award nominee for Best Play. Local audiences may be
more familiar with the 1992 film of “Enchanted April” which featured such actors
as Joan Plowright, Miranda Richardson, Alfred Molina and Jim Broadbent. An
earlier film version starring Ann Harding opened in 1935, while the first stage
version played Broadway in 1925. This will be the first staging in Oklahoma City
of Barber’s version.
Carpenter Square Theatre is
the recipient of a project assistance grant from the Oklahoma Arts Council for
this production. Additional support is provided by the Kirkpatrick Family Fund
and Allied Arts. The show is an Allied Arts Star Card event.
”Enchanted April” is rated PG.