Chronicling the lives of five women in show business, the new play Five of a Kind spans half a century of friendship and social transformation. Written by Anita Dwyer and Adrienne Armstrong, the play premieres this week, Feb. 13-15, in a “reader’s theater” format at the Very Little Theatre.
“We’re going with reader’s theater because it focuses on the material, the relationships, the dialogue and the characters,” says Director Paul Rhoden. “The audience will be able to watch this play with their eyes closed and see everything.”
With a decade lapsing between scenes, the dramatic comedy drops in on a monthly poker game in Los Angeles, beginning in the 1960s. We meet an ambitious Texan, a washed-up former child actress, an aspiring writer, a pampered trophy wife and a trust-funder who’s perpetually furthering her education. The cast features Maya Thomas, Kari Welch, Abagail Borkin-Rius, Tanja Jenson and Darlene Rhoden, with Tim McIntosh narrating.
“As the women live through betrayals, trust issues, love, we see the evolution of the group as a family,” Rhoden says.
The show explores individual experience within the context of tremendous cultural change.
“The overarching theme is the feminist revolution and the women coming into their own,” Rhoden says.
The production sprang from the playwrights’ 30-year careers in the entertainment industry. After writing for film and television, Dwyer and Armstrong didn’t have to go far for inspiration.
“These are two substantial, accomplished, funny women,” Rhoden says, “writing about five substantial, accomplished, funny women.”
As Armstrong says, “We have both been in the business for so many years. We have met and, in some cases, known very well women who are the models for these five characters.”
Armstrong quips, “Of course, in the writing they have taken on their own personas. As they say, ‘any resemblance to anyone, living or dead, is purely coincidental’ … nudge, nudge, wink, wink,” she adds.
A staged reading of Five of a Kind will perform 7:30 pm Friday and Saturday, Feb. 13-14, and 2 pm Sunday, Feb. 15, at the Very Little Theatre. An audience talkback session with the playwrights will follow each performance; $5 suggested donation.