By Emily Neelon |
After only hours of separation, Corrie Bratter leaps into her husband Paul’s arms as he walks through the door of their apartment.
“You know, for a lawyer, you’re some good kisser,” Corrie exclaims.
“For a kisser, I’m some good lawyer,” Paul banters back.
UP’s fall production of “Barefoot in the Park” follows Paul and Corrie Bratter, married just six days, as they begin their lives together. When they move into their first apartment, the couple’s dysfunctionality becomes clear. With no furniture and endless repairs to make, six flights of stairs to climb, and neighbors that are less than mentally stable, the couple get their first glimpse at married life.
“I’ll say this Corrie: It won’t be a dull two years,” Paul said.
Set in the1960s in New York, “Barefoot in the Park” by Neil Simon explores the relationship of the newlywed couple over the course of four days. As Paul and Corrie realize that playing “grown-ups” is not as easy as it looks, they continuously quarrel and make up in comical sequences of events. Whether it’s Paul is climbing up six flights of stairs, bursting into the apartment out of breath and unable to speak, or Corrie playing matchmaker to her unwilling mom and crazy neighbor, the production is never dull.
“Barefoot in the Park” takes place entirely in Paul and Corrie’s apartment. As the couple attempts to settle into their new home, their lack of furniture and space to move about adds to the hilarity of their situation. This simple setting gives the audience a more intimate glimpse into the character’s lives.
Senior Jordin Bradley, who plays Corrie Bratter, finds her character to be a passionate, young woman with endless enthusiasm.
“She’s a bundle of energy. She’s very anxious, very excitable,” said Bradley. “She wants everybody to love her, wants to think of herself as adventurous and independent, but actually really needs other people.”
Junior Michael Rexroat sees his character, Paul Bratter, as more of a realist than his wife.
“He’s recently gotten a job with a law firm and gotten married, so he’s really excited about starting the adult portion of his life,” Rexroat said. “He’s very aware of how he’s coming off to other people. He tends to be a little anxious and over-excited about things that are going to end up maybe being uncomfortable for him.”
When the couple’s expectations of their lives with each other collide, Paul and Corrie must learn how to compromise.
“She learns over the course of the show that she can’t always be focusing on herself,” Bradley said. “In order to get love from other people she has to give up a little bit of herself.”
Director Andrew Golla asserts that the main objective of “Barefoot in the Park” is to figure out how to live happily with another person, something all college students must learn to do.
“The play’s about letting go of the idea of the way we think things have to be, and figuring out the way things should be,” Golla said.
Both Bradley and Rexroat found kinship with their characters.
“I can see bits and pieces of Paul in me,” Rexroat said.
Bradley found the same comfort in Corrie.
“She and I are really not that far from each other. I understand her adventurous spirit, her desire to be liked and loved. I understand putting on a mask of fun, even if that’s not what’s necessarily inside,” Bradley said. “She and I have a lot in common. I don’t have quite as much anxiety as she does and I’m not quite as heightened, but it was honestly not too difficult to understand her point of view for the show.”
Golla chose “Barefoot in the Park” because of its playful disposition.
“We’ve got some heavier shows coming up this year, so we wanted to do something lighter to start out with that had a broader appeal,” he said.
Golla believes the show is one that students will be able to relate to.
“It’s about two young people starting their lives in the wider world for the first time. It’s about relationships, about love.”
Bradley agrees that this is a production everyone will enjoy.
“Everybody’s going to laugh their butts off,” Bradley said. “If you want a good laugh, it’s the place to come.”
“Barefoot in the Park” will be playing in the Mago Hunt Center Theater from Oct. 2-6. Admission is $5 for UP students and senior citizens and $10 for adults. The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. the 2nd to the 5th and 2 p.m. the 6th.