|Actors Dan Jalbuena and Kathryn Aldridge|
“The play focuses on Barrymore’s efforts to reignite his career on stage one last time, despite alcoholism and general extravagance,” said OU-C faculty member Ken Breidenbaugh, who directs the play. “It is set in 1942, the year preceding his death. It is a wildly entertaining and moving production, and it is full of theater history and lore.”
“The audiences this summer loved it. It is a play that is both funny and moving. It is fun in that there is much wry humor involved. It is a moving play in that we see Barrymore at the end of his life and desperately trying to reinvent Richard III,” Breidenbaugh said.
“Any time you have a play about the theater it promises to be especially intriguing. From my point of view, theater is the penultimate metaphor for life.”
Key roles include Barrymore and the prompter/manager, who attempts to keep the actor on task in the rehearsal process.
“This being the second time around, it allows an opportunity to develop the character more,” said Dan Jalbuena, who plays the lead role. “Barrymore is a man who is looking at the end of his life, which has had lots of successes and failures. It is challenging to play this role, as I can only imagine what it is like to look back at a life that has already been lived, and there are no second chances.”
“The prompter serves to remind Barrymore of the plot of the play he is rehearsing,” said Kathryn Aldridge, who plays the behind-the-scenes role. “The prompter wants Barrymore to have one final, great show. It is somewhat difficult to work behind the scenes since all of the acting is through use of voice.”