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Change of heart

The many changes and stages of love and marriage are explored in Lovers and Other Strangers at the Citrus County Art League for the next two weekends.

By JORGE SANCHEZ

© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 15, 2001


An evolving love story, as seen through the lives and lies of three married couples, is presented in Lovers and Other Strangers.

The play takes a comedic look at falling and staying in love. This is done through four intertwined vignettes. Among them are two acts focusing on young lovers, followed by a middle-aged couple trying to reignite the spark in their love life, and an older couple facing some introspective and tough times.

Young lovers Joan (Sara Pepin) and Richie (Jason Varkett) are featured in the first two acts.

"It's about a guy chasing a girl, who, much to his surprise, catches her," said director Jacquelyn de Torres. "It's done through clever manipulations by the female. You know the old story."

Pepin just graduated from Lecanto High and Varkett is a student at Citrus High. They meet, fall in love and are married, said de Torres.

The second scene takes a look at Wilma and Johnny, played by Carola McIntyre and Jerry Rust. They're having some problems with their sex drive -- it's stalled.

"There is some bedroom dialogue here," de Torres said. "It seems his libido rises and falls with his sales efforts at work."

Lovers and Other Strangers contains some sexual references and other adult themes and is not recommended for children.

The older married couple, Bea and Frank, played by Fran Barg and John Chesnovitz, are embroiled in a domestic struggle. It seems their son's marriage is falling apart and the couple is wondering whether their rocky, fight-filled marriage had anything to do with it.

Barg and Chesnovitz are veteran community theater actors, with many appearances both at the Art Leage and Playhouse 19.

"They work well together and are extremely funny in a very Italian way," de Torres said.

Lovers and Other Strangers is de Torres' second directing effort for the art league. She has a lengthy career in community theater. Her husband, Juan, is a consulting engineer for water and sewer firms and they traveled the world. At every stop, including American embassies, de Torres found herself involved with community theater. She directed I'll Be Back By Midnight, a horror spoof, last season for the art league.

The play is set in 1970, and features music from the year.

At a glance

The comedy Lovers and Other Strangers is at the Citrus County Art League, 2644 N Annapolis Ave., Hernando, for the next two weekends. Show times are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Advance tickets, available at the box office, are $8. Tickets at the door ar $9. Call the box office from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday at 746-7606.

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