Have you ever thought about how much you’ve changed over the years? Of maybe if knowing what you know now would have changed choices you made years ago? Playwright Peter Lefcourt has certainly considered these issues and more. On the continuum of life, at what point would you stop and think about how the decisions you made then would affect who you are now? And what if you could change them?
Greg (Andrew Neaves) and Melissa (Fatima El-Bashir) were barely 18 when they met – and fell in love. But that was then. Now 40 years have passed and Greg (Michael Corbett) and Melissa (Tarina Pouncy) meet again. That’s a lot of water under the dam. In those 40 years, Melissa has been married and divorced twice; she never had any kids. Greg has been married for 38 years and has three children he loves dearly. Somehow, Melissa’s dreams of becoming a dancer died; and Greg’s hopes for a career as a jazz musician fizzled out. Melissa is now a successful couples therapist, and Greg is a respected corporate attorney. To say that they drifted very far apart would be understating the situation. But what about how they feel right now? In a word, Melissa feels lonely and unloved; and Greg feels that he is staying in a loveless marriage and a thankless, unfulfilling job because they have become comfortable habits. But what if things could be different? What if the young Greg and Melissa had stayed together and pursued their childhood dreams in Paris?
The bartender (David Jahn) – who is also the waiter, the narrator, and anyone else needed in this three-person show – immediately clues the audience into the fact that this is an existential love story which, as such, allows some very odd things to happen in the course of the evening. He is quick to remind the audience that the couple, now 58 years old, have a lot of reminiscences to uncover when they meet in Minneapolis for the first time in 40 years. At times, this “jack-of-all-trades” can be insufferable; at other times, his comments are hilarious, poignant, and right on the mark. As he puts it, he has become a Greek chorus.
Playwright Peter Lefcourt described our lives as “odysseys that take us sailing through uncharted waters. When you’re young, you look forward to an adventurous voyage; but, as the years go by, you just want to reach dry land.” Thus has he penned REMEMBERING THE FUTURE with an eye to the choices that got us wherever we are right now. This is a well-written and insightful peek at life from different perspectives. Director Terri Hanauer skillfully helms the talented ensemble cast, who have just the right chemistry to keep this potentially philosophical tale grounded in the humor and pathos of everyday life. The occasional element of audience participation serves to bring the timeline back to the here and how – and remind them that this is in fact an existential play. REMEMBERING THE FUTURE is a must-see for audiences who sometimes wonder how we got where we are right now in the first place – how the impact of past choices has formed our present. The production is at the same time highly entertaining, fun, and poignant as we laugh heartily but may sometimes be hiding a tear. Don’t miss this clever and creative look at life.
REMEMBERING THE FUTURE runs through August 21, 2022 with performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays. The Odyssey Theatre is located at 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025. Tickets are $25. For information and reservations, call 310-477-2055 Ext. 2 or go online.