"METEOR SHOWER" FRAUGHT WITH COMIC FALLOUT


            BONNIE GOLDBERG

Philosopher/playwright Steve Martin likes to play around with people, personalities and patterns of behavior. With his trademark wit and caustic and clever commentaries, he observes his characters through a variety of revealing prisms. For a new and quirky look at his latest subjects under the microscope, head straight to Long Wharf Theatre for the world premiere, a co-production with the Old Globe, of Martin's illuminating comedy "Meteor Shower" until Sunday, October 16.

Pull up a thick cushioned chaise lounge for an excellent view of the celestial fireworks promised by a meteor shower. Michael Yeargan has designed a wonderful revolving set for the action, a California home in the early 1990's, where Corky (Arden Myrin) and hubby Norm (Patrick Breen) happily reside. Through many years of marriage, they have developed a unique way of communicating, one that honors and respects each others' thoughts and feelings.

Into this peaceful setting, they have invited casual acquaintances, Gerald (Josh Stamberg) and Laura (Sophina Brown), who are up for games and mischief. The action starts, stops, enjoys a do-over and starts again as Gerald and Laura tease and cajole, trying to shake secrets from Corky and Norm in a series of sexual innuendoes. What are their motives?  What is the significance of the three eggplants that arrive mysteriously? How secure will Corky and Norm's marriage be after Gerald and Laura play their mind games and manipulate them like pawns?

Steve Martin's brilliance shines as brightly as the meteors that streak across the midnight sky. He cleverly opens the door to temptation, introspection and reflection. Dark corners of their souls are revealed as possibilities, previously unheard of, are now explored.

As the alcohol flows, intimate details about their lives are revealed, real and imagined. Like a Svengali, Gerald masterfully manipulates the players but to what end? He delights in his human experimentation and the unforeseen consequences he can create. Gordon Edelstein directs this inspired delving into the soul with all its comic and tragic reverberations, letting all of our repressions out of Pandora's box.

For tickets ($27 and up), call Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven at 203-787-4282 or online at www.longwharf.org. Performances are Tuesday at 7, Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Scan the firmament for the revelations about human nature that only a philosophizing playwright like Steve Martin could contemplate.


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