Nancy Sasso Janis
- OnStage Connecticut Critic
- Connecticut Critics Circle
“So, through some retro humor and farce, let’s remember our past and move forward into the future.” - Johnny Revicki and Duane Campbell
New Britain, CT - Duane Campbell and Johnny Revicki co-directed the play entitled ‘Boeing, Boeing’ at Connecticut Theatre Company in New Britain. In their “Message from the Co-captains,” the two acknowledge the humor of this farce set in the swinging sixties. The duo also discuss the misogyny of the decade and bemoan its treatment of women. They conclude, “The men start this day thinking they’re outsmarting these ladies, using them for their amusement, and yet by the end of the night, all four women end up in a better situation than they had at sunrise. This was a bright spot, a glimmer that at least one man, playwright Marc Camoletti, had his head on straight in the 60s.”
The entire action of the play does indeed take place in one day in the flat of Bernard (played by Steffon Sampson) located near Orly Airport in Paris. An employee of the airport has supplied Bernard with the names of beautiful “air hostesses” and now he has become engaged to three of them. Along with his housekeeper Berthe (played to perfection by Mary Roane,) he must maintain a carefully coordinated schedule to avoid having the three women run into each other at his beautifully decorated apartment. The speed of the newest planes being built by Boeing wreaks havoc on the juggling of the three very different fiancees for both Bernard and his old friend Robert (played ever so well by Damian Dominguez.)
The three young women are identifiable by the primary colors of their uniforms and their distinct accents. In the blue of Alitia is Gabriella, played with Italian intensity by the brunette Laura Bailey. Gloria, who flies in TWA red, hails from New York and is brought to life convincingly by the beautiful Brooke Ferguson. A 2015 CCSU graduate, Ms. Ferguson had an accent that made me smile. Wearing the yellow of Lufthansa was the acting CTC president Erin Campbell, in her first non-musical production since the age of 11. Ms. Campbell brought the comic timing of the fabulous Michelle Gotay, with whom she bears a striking resemblance, to the role of Gretchen. She pretty much stole every scene in which she appeared.
Ms. Dominguez made his CTC debut as the fast-thinking best friend of Robert. Originally from Georgia, this actor relocated to Hartford, CT for a costume apprenticeship at Hartford Stage. As such has been involved in the construction of the excellent costumes for ‘Anastasia’ at Hartford Stage, as well as costumes for ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ ‘Beautiful’ and (wait for it…) ‘Hamilton’ on Broadway.
Speaking of costumes, the audience for the Saturday of closing weekend have a special appreciation for the weight of a character’s wardrobe because the air conditioning in the venue ceased to work. It was uncomfortable for all of the audience members, so one can only imagine how difficult it was for Mr. Dominguez in his sweater and Ms. Roane in several layers. Mr. Sampson as the harried Parisian bachelor did not have to pretend to sweat when the traffic in his apartment got tangled.
The set for ‘Boeing, Boeing’ was probably the best one I have ever seen at CTC. I loved the initial “G” (which worked for all three fiancees) hanging on the wall, the mod primary colors accents that matched their uniforms, and the small beanbag chairs that served as props, as did the large blow-up globe. Congratulations to technical director/set designer Michael J. Bane on a job well done. Costumes by Rose Masselli Morse for her fourth show with CTC were perfectly appropriate despite the temperature on the stage. There was a bit of choreography by Kristen Norris for the curtain call.
I am sorry that I wasn’t able to see this fine production in New Britain until the closing weekend, but I was glad that I was able to fit it in. Next up at CTC is ‘Sweeney Todd’ opening on October 14, followed by the return of ‘The Christmas Schooner’ in early December.
Pictured: The cast of 'Boeing, Boeing' at CTC Photo courtesy of CTC