By William Inge
Directed by Joseph Natale
With Kelli Bocock-Natale, Richard Lambert,
Jen Leibowitz, Michael Seitz, Murry Galloway,
Margo Davis, James Wild, Nickalaus Koziura,
James Robert Steiner, Keith Elkins, and Jess Abel.
THREE AND A HALF STARS
“Stellar cast does justice to Inge Drama”
“Lola and Doc, exquisitely played by Kelli Bocock-Natale and Richard Lambert”
-Benjamin Siegel, The Buffalo News
Photos by Michael Walline
A revival for our times of the great American classic about the collisions between past and present, promise and reality. Centered on the lives of Doc and Lola, the play’s tensions mount when a student boarder peels away the paper from the cracks in this searing study of a marriage built on broken dreams and unrealized promise.
Like Miller’s DEATH OF A SALESMAN, this great American classic takes on haunting relevance during the current recession. But Inge’s vision of a shattered American dream is also a heartbreaking portrait of a marriage foundering on regret. When the sexual tension aroused by a young boarder undermine’s Doc’s recovery from alcoholism, Doc and Lola are forced to re-evaluate their life together, and Inge’s play ends with a couple reconciling themselves to a future without illusions or nostalgia.
William Inge was an American playwright and novelist whose dramas included nostalgic recollections of the past and insights into his own life. Born in 1913 in Independence, Kansas, Inge used this small mid-western town as the basis of his dramas. After earning his Bachelor of Arts, a Masters Degree in English, and trying various jobs, Inge joined the St. Louis Star-Times as the music, art, book, and drama critic. Inge wrote a feature article on the then little known author Tennessee Williams, and the two became close friends. Impressed with Williams’ play THE GLASS MENAGERIE, Inge decided that he would write his own drama. Inge wrote FARTHER OFF FROM HEAVEN in three months.
In 1948, Inge realized that he had a drinking problem and joined Alcoholics Anonymous. He soon understood his dependency and said this period of acceptance and change was “to find its way into the speech of Doc Delaney in COME BACK, LITTLE SHEBA”. In 1950, COME BACK, LITTLE SHEBA was introduced to Broadway. Running for 190 performances, the New York Drama Critic’s Circle declared Inge to be Broadway’s “Most Promising Playwright” of the 1950 season. With the Pulitzer-Prize winning PICNIC in 1953, BUS STOP in 1958, THE DARK AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS in 1951, and SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS in 1961, Inge was by now creating one success after another. Many of the mid-western based dramas presented the idea that people should make the best of what they have in life. But towards the end of his career, Inge started to receive poor reviews and rejection in New York and Hollywood. He continued to suffer from alcoholism and depression and ended his life in 1973.