The Marriage of Bette and Boo by Christopher DurangNever have marriage and the family been more scathingly or hilariously savaged than in this brilliant black comedy. The marriage of Bette and Boo brings together two of the maddest families in creation in a portrait album of family life’s uncertainties and confusion. Bereaved by miscarriages, undermined by their families, separated by alcoholism, assaulted by disease, and mystified by their priest, Bette and Boo, in their bewildered attempts to provide a semblance of hearth and home, are presented with a poignant compassion that enriches and enlarges the play, and places Christopher Durang squarely in the forefront of American dramatists.
The Marriage of Bette and Boo
Little blessings? You would need a superpowered microscope to detect the glimmers of benevolence, charity or happiness glinting amid the misery in this breezy cavalcade of scenes from a dreadful marriage, first produced in The subject of Mr. Durang cross-bred two effective genres, the memory play and the comedy sketch. In the original production at the Public Theater, Mr. Bette Kate Jennings Grant , the devout Roman Catholic who embarks on her marriage to the respectable Boo Christopher Evan Welch with a smile of satisfaction on her face, hopes above all else to have a sumptuous brood of children.
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Admittedly the author's most autobiographical play, Bette and Boo started theatrical life as a minute sketch when Durang was a Yale Drama School student along with Meryl Streep and Sigourney Weaver, who appeared in that version , as he was grappling with the parental dysfunction he'd endured while growing up. As the work speeds along from the nuptials to the arrival of several stillborn babies, the couple's divorce, and Bette's final illness, Durang connects all the dots in this play. What works so well here, though, is that he acknowledges them as dots: the play consists of 33 distinct sketches in which he deliberately reduces his characters to two-dimensional figures -- maybe two-and-a-half dimensional figures -- that underline his take on the understanding we do or don't reach about our families. Indeed, Matt begins the play talking about analyzing his family; but by the time he's shown all the failed holiday get-togethers and other dodgy and volatile events -- and also digressed excessively about the Thomas Hardy novels he's studying at Dartmouth -- he realizes he can come to no satisfying conclusion about them. He can only exercise acceptance. Director Walter Bobbie, a naturally funny man himself, has enlisted 10 eager players, whom he keeps on the hop.
The associate producer was Jason Steven Cohen. The production stage manager was James Harker, the stage manager was Pamela Singer. The cast was:. Margaret Brennan, her mother. Patricia Falkenhain. Paul Brennan, her father.