Family affair: de honeymoon over

When the Cayman National Cultural
Foundation stages De Honeymoon Over next month, it will be a family affair,
both figuratively and literally.

The family members who struggle
with a new marriage and advice from relatives and friends comprise the
fictitious cast, but in real life, almost the entire cast works for the CNCF,
and another member used to be on staff. And they do not hesitate to use the
word “family” to describe their close-knit group.

Most are veterans of Cayman stage,
with the exception of Lorna Bush, who plays Ma, the mother of the young wife in
the play. “It’s given me a whole new lease on life,” she says, after happily
repeating her lines during a recent rehearsal.

In fact, working together and then
rehearsing together has been the strongest of positive reinforcements for the
cast.

“Everything reminds us of the lines
in the script,” says Rita Estevanovich, aka Coreen McLean in the stage production.
They’ve even taken to repeating a phrase from the play — look a life — to the
point where “we tend to say that to everything now,” Ms Estevanovich says,
while the rest of the cast nods and smiles and chuckle along with her.

And you can’t help but smiling
through this timeless comedy, which features a young couple who are beginning
to experience the growing pains of marriage. While they struggle to figure out
life and all of its problems, they receive unsolicited advice from their
friends and from Ma, who regales them with tales from the many funerals she
attends — whether she knows the deceased or not.

The situation comedy by three-time
CNCF annual playwright competition winner Donna Tull-Cox is not only perfectly
suited to this ensemble cast, but also to the current economic times.

“Especially the situation of living
with the parents, in times like these,” says Marcia Muttoo, who reprises her
role of Wiggie Stanton from the original production, which was first staged in
1993. Now a new generation of theatre-goers gets to see the play.”

Starting out without a proper stage
manager and other key backstage personnel, the amiable troupe has carried on
with enthusiasm.

Fortunately, the production
recently acquired a stage manager — Donna Reid, another “family member” who is
a programmes manager at CNCF.

“I think the challenge is more with
the director (Henry Muttoo) than for the cast,” says Marcia Muttoo. “Doing it
without a props department – without the support systems” calls for
improvising, she said.

But Mr. Muttoo is unruffled. “Even
so,” he says, “theatre can exist without any of the systems in play. While it
is difficult without a stage manager, despite that, it has gone smoothly. We’re
a cohesive group, and I think there’s a familiarity that makes it easy to establish
relationships.”

Again, the phrase “one big happy
family” comes to mind.

“My biggest challenge is holding
back the laughter,” says Ms Muttoo.

The hilarious play moves through
life experiences in whirlwind fashion, as Ma presses for a grandchild, and
Dexter McLean (played by Fritz McPherson, who used to work for the CNCF) and
his wife Coreen (Ms Estevanovich) deal with the bombardment of advice from
friends Wiggie Stanton (Ms Muttoo) and Buddy Jones (Michael McLaughlin, the
only cast member who has not been on the staff of the CNCF).

“We have lots of advice to give,
and we give it freely,” laughs Ms Muttoo.

In fact, “they have their ulterior
motives for keeping the couple apart,” says Mr. Muttoo — stopping there, to
keep from giving away the plot.

Suffice it to say, the two-act play
offers something for everyone: the generation gap between young adults and
their parents; how men see things, how women see the same things differently;
the relationships between friends and between parents and in-laws and their
children.

“It’s a drawing-room type comedy
and it will definitely connect with all audiences,” says Mr. Muttoo. “People
will get a good show and have an entertaining evening.”

De Honeymoon Over will be staged at
the Harquail Theatre from 9-12 September and from 16-19 September. Tickets are
$20. For information, call 949.5477.

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The situation in De Honeymoon Over gets rather tangled.
Photo: Submitted
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