On first blush, we aren't likely to have much in common with wealthy widow Ethel Savage, who decides she'd like to live out her life with the so-called "guests" in a convalescent home rather than dealing with her money-grubbing stepchildren.
But, not so fast, says Evie Durant, director of "The Curious Savage," a vintage comedy that opens on Friday, Sept. 20, at Oak Street Playhouse.
"[The character] Dr. Emmett talks about the patients ... as living in an eggshell world where they purposely keep out information that they find unpleasant," she said, "and they curate their lives around this place that has become their safe haven. Our current society may seem so very different on the surface, but if you look deeper, we curate our lives through social media and how we get our information to fit our views. And whether we want to only see cute kitten videos or to be completely immersed in current affairs, we are creating our own eggshells around ourselves."
If you go
* What: “The Curious Savage”
* When: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 20-21, 26-28; 2 p.m. Sept. 22 and 29
* Where: Flo Summitt Theatre, Oak Street Playhouse, Oak and Lindsay Streets inside in First-Centenary United Methodist Church
* Admission: $15 adults, $12 seniors and groups, $10 students
* For more information: www.oakstreetplayhouse.com
"The Curious Savage" premiered in 1950, according to Durant, but has another theme relatable to 2019 — that of money and society.
Mrs. Savage has been left $10 million by her husband ($106.5 million in 2019 dollars), and truly desires to make the best use of it. However, it's in negotiable securities, and her children can't get their hands on it. Instead, they commit her to a sanitarium to "bring her to her senses."
Instead of coming to her senses, though, she meets a delightful group of social misfits who, simply, are not able to adjust themselves to life. They are, it turns out, just the type of people who need the help she can provide.
But there's a catch. Dr. Emmett says she's fine and doesn't have to stay. What happens with her and the other "guests," what happens with her and her stepchildren, and what happens with her money bring high comedy to the rest of the proceedings.
The play, says Durant, "has some very tender moments. Even after seeing it for weeks and weeks, I still get teary-eyed."
In the end, she says, "I hope anyone who comes to see this production with the notion they are just coming to see a fluffy comedy leaves having their heartstrings tugged a little bit, along with the laughs."
Denise Frye portrays Mrs. Savage in the show, which will be performed in the playhouse's Flo Summitt Theatre in First-Centenary United Methodist Church. Other cast members include Kendra Gross, Patti Gross, Casey Keelen, Michael Myers, Mike Pala, Marcia Parks, Sloan Patton, Jeff Shoop, Carlton Thomas and Lindsey Wills.
For tickets: www.brownpapertickets.com (type in Oak Street Playhouse).