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The Journal Gazette

  • Mamet's “A Life in the Theatre” is about the complex relationship between two actors – one older, one younger – in a small theater company.  

  • Photos by Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Christopher J. Murphy, left, and Quentin C. Jenkins star in Arena Dinner Theatre’s production of David Mamet’s “A Life in the Theatre.”  

Friday, January 19, 2018 1:00 am

Arena Dinner Theatre takes on Mamet

If you go

What: “A Life in the Theatre”

When: 7 p.m. dinner, 8 p.m. show today, Saturday and Jan. 26 and 27 and Feb. 2 and 3

Where: Arena Dinner Theatre, 719 Rockhill St.

Admission: $40; 424-5622 or ArenaDinnerTheatre.org

“I think the town can handle Mamet.”

That's what director Todd Frymier says about “A Life in the Theatre,” which opens this weekend at Arena Dinner Theatre. Known for strong language, David Mamet's works are not often performed in Fort Wayne. But this show is not as “biting” as other Mamet plays, the director says, and a couple of words have been tamed down while keeping the rhythm the playwright is known for.

Local theater veteran Christopher J. Murphy stars as an older actor opposite newcomer Quentin C. Jenkins' younger actor. The play examines the complex and evolving relationship between the actors who share a dressing room at a theater company. Sophia D'Virgilio plays a rarely heard stage manager.

Frymier says different people in the audience will take different things away from the show, but the general theme is how fleeting time can be.

“It's life,” he says, pointing out that though this show takes place in a theater, you could set this story anywhere and it would still speak to people about the passage of time and the range of feelings brought out by aging and passing the torch to a younger generation.

The director has always wanted to do a Mamet play, and brought this show to the Arena board. He says this post-holidays slot works perfectly for “A Life,” thanks to its small cast.

“Working around two schedules is much easier than working around eight people's schedules,” Frymier says with a laugh. “It's a little tougher show to do, but with it only being two people, we can concentrate a lot on it.”

– Corey McMaken, The Journal Gazette