Arts and Entertainment

‘Private Eyes’ twists, smolders at Bainbridge Performing Arts

In Bainbridge Performing Arts “Private Eyes,” Lisa, played by Keiko Green and Matthew, played by Ricky Coates, try to sort out the truth under the watchful eye of Cory, played by Ann Wilkinson Ellis.  - Deirdre Hadlock / Courtesy Photo
In Bainbridge Performing Arts “Private Eyes,” Lisa, played by Keiko Green and Matthew, played by Ricky Coates, try to sort out the truth under the watchful eye of Cory, played by Ann Wilkinson Ellis.
— image credit: Deirdre Hadlock / Courtesy Photo

Halfway through rehearsal for “Private Eyes,” the Bainbridge Performing Arts spring production, one of the actors knocked a prop — a full glass of wine — off a table

It shattered not only the glass, but the play’s spell, jolting everyone back to reality.

Steven Dietz play jolts, too, repeatedly flipping the switch from fantasy to reality in this intriguing brain-twister about truth and lies, infidelity and suspicion.

The play-within-a-play follows actor Lisa (Keiko Green), who is married to Matthew (Ricky Coates), but is having a torrid affair with her theater director Adrian (Kenneth Enright). But, then again, maybe she isn’t. It could be Matthew’s imagination or a lie he’s fabricated for the benefit of his therapist, Frank (Jennifer Jett).

Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, in walks wild card – and hurricane - Cory (Ann Wilkinson Ellis) to stir up trouble.

A Dietz fan since she saw the play in 1997, Director Kate Carruthers thinks the smart, sexy story is perfect for Bainbridge audiences.

 

The usual suspects

“These are really good actors, performing at a really high level,” she said at Tuesday’s rehearsal.

That’s important, since the play pivots on the cast’s chops and chemistry. All but Green have performed at BPA before.

Coates was last seen here in “The Philadelphia Story,” which Carruthers also directed. Although this is Green’s first BPA appearance, she studied theater at New York University. She’s living on Bainbridge Island at the moment, with an eye toward Los Angeles.

The play was originally titled “The Usual Suspects,” but when a movie of the same name became a hit, Dietz changed it to “Private Eyes.”

 

The chair

The set is spare and nimble for the five-person play.

At one point, a lone chair serves to illustrate the power struggle between Matthew and Adrian. He, and the play, opts for “bare, except for the fundamental human life.”

A smoldering soundtrack, suggested by Dietz, accompanies the play, filled with sultry tunes by Ella Fitzgerald, Dexter Gordon, Frank Sinatra and Tom Waits.

The dialogue, too, weaves refrains in and out.

The adult themes of infidelity and revenge might be better suited to audiences a little older than the PG-13 rating might imply.

A pay-what-you-can preview is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 15 and the opening night reception is at 6:30 p.m. Friday, March 16.

 

An eyeful

“Private Eyes” runs from March 16-25 at Bainbridge Performing Arts, 200 Madison Ave.  Performances are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and at 3 p.m. on Sundays.

Directed by Kate Carruthers.

Tickets are $27 for adults, $22 for seniors, and $19 for students, youth, military and teachers.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.bainbridgeperformingarts.org or call 842-8569.

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