A writer’s love lost and found

Neil Simon’s ‘Rose’s Dilemma’ fills in for ‘The Good Doctor’

Rose (Sharon DelaBarre) and Walsh (Tom Darter) reminisce about the night they met in “Rose’s Dilemma.

Rose (Sharon DelaBarre) and Walsh (Tom Darter) reminisce about the night they met in “Rose’s Dilemma.

‘Rose’s Dilemma’

By Neil Simon, directed by Karen Hogan

Dates: Sept. 5-21

Locaton: Olympic Theatre Arts, 414 N. Sequim Ave.

Times: 7:30 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays

Tickets: $16 adults, $14 OTA members/ active military, $10 children 16 and under

$10 preview Sept. 4; pay what you will Sept. 11

More info: Call 683-7326 or visit olympictheatrearts.org.

 

 

A slight dilemma quickly evolved into “Rose’s Dilemma” at Olympic Theatre Arts.

After facing a casting deficit for “The Good Doctor” in the late summer, director Karen Hogan said they’ve turned to Neil Simon’s “Rose” with the existing cast and a smooth transition.

“Sometimes things happen because they are meant to happen,” Hogan said.

“Rose’s Dilemma” runs three weeks Sept. 5-21 with a $10 preview night at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 4, and a pay what you will show Thursday, Sept. 11.

Centered on Rose, loosely based on playwright Lillian Hellman, played by Sharon DelaBarre, Simon’s female lead finds herself at a crossroads five years after the death of her lover Walsh, loosely based on Dashiell Hammett, played by Tom Darter.

Facing financial and emotional woes, DelaBarre said through willpower, Rose brings Walsh back for help.

“His death sort of left her floating out here even though she hasn’t written anything since then,” DelaBarre said. “He’s been there sort of to continue the connection.”

Darter said the script alludes to Rose and Walsh having a contentious relationship, but it the most important relationship in their lives.

“The impression I have is that Walsh keeps her grounded, keeps her from falling into some kind of depression. He’s there to keep her going,” he said.

Hogan said Hellman was a tough woman and had plays produced on Broadway when women didn’t have plays produced on Broadway.

“She had to be (tough) to be accepted as a writer and to defend herself as a writer,” Hogan said.

Hammett and Hellman had a tumultuous relationship like their fictional counterparts, Hogan said, but they were drawn to one another as writers.

“She was a (mean person) to get through to people,” she said. “She pushed people away with her sharp barbs but she had to be that way to get where she was at the time.”

DelaBarre said she’s gone slightly full circle playing Rose/Hellman, who wrote “The Little Foxes,” because she played its main character Regina in OTA’s Feb. 2004 production.

As the plays goes on, DelaBarre said the audience discovers Rose had hard choices in her life that impacted her persona.

“She’s a romantic and a softie but because of the things that have happened to her she’s built a wall, an armor,” she said. “She comes across a lot harder than she is really.”

With Walsh’s advice, Rose recruits Clancy, a one-time-author played by Dalton Williamson, to help ghost write a book for her, leading Rose’s assistant and daughter Arlene, played by Jennifer Sies, to develop a relationship with Clancy.

Sies, in her first play for OTA, said she returns to the stage after six years and finds “Rose’s Dilemma” has “incredible depth” while touching on universal themes like regret, death and feeling lost.

Both Hogan and Darter say the play is a departure for Simon.

“It goes places that a lot of Neil Simon’s plays don’t go,” Darter said. “It’s a different kind of depth here without the standard kind of surprises. It’s more of a lighthearted, frothy Neil Simon comedy.”

Hogan said the play is about human connections.

“I think it’s going to please Neil Simon fans,” she said. “It’s about stuff we’ve all gone through and that love endures and it’s never too late.”

For “Rose’s Dilemma,” DelaBarre also led set design while Darter provides more incidental music from his own recordings. Connie Jenkins serves as production manager, Elaine Lorentzen on props, Steve Schultz on lighting design, Phillip Mortensen on sound, Pam Ray as stage manager and Barbara Tabor costumes.

For more information on Olympic Theatre Arts, call 683-7326 or visit olympictheatrearts.org.

 

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