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TACT/The Actors Company Theatre Presents "Lovers" by Brian Friel at the Beckett Theatre
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TACT/The Actors Company Theatre Presents "Lovers" by Brian Friel at the Beckett Theatre

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TACT/The Actors Company Theatre
(TACT Website)


By Brian Friel
Directed by Drew Barr

At the
Beckett Theatre
(Theatre Row Website)
410 West 42nd Street

Kati Brazda, Nora Chester
Cynthia Darlow, James Riordan
Justine Salata, Cameron Scoggins

Scenic Design: Brett J. Banakis
Costume Design: Kim Krumm Sorenson
Lighting Design: Mary Louise Geiger
Sound Design & Original Music: Daniel Kluger
Production Stage Manager: Michael Friedlander
Asst. Stage Manager: Alex Mark
Casting: Kelley Gillespie
Wig Design: Robert Charles Vallance
TACT General Manager: Cathy Bencivenga
Press & Publicity: Richard Hillman
Dialect Coach: Susan Cameron
Dramaturge: Ethan Joseph
Props by Lauren Madden

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 7, 2012 Matinee

Brian Friel’s 1968 play, Lovers, set in Ireland, actually has two stage levels, like heaven and hell, with a young couple filled with hope living above and an older couple devoid of hope, living mostly below. The first act segment is titled “Winners”, with the second act segment named “Losers”. A post-theatre talkback was quite animated on the symbolism. In “Winners”, James Riordan and Kati Brazda sit on stage, still as steel, reading a narrative, as Man and Woman, as to the fate of a pregnant teen and her scholarly boyfriend. Justine Salata is pregnant Mag, whose shrill tantrums and whiny pleading for attention and assurances from Joe (Cameron Scoggins) were more than I could bear. There was barely a break in her annoying, clawing, endless rant, only silenced with Joe’s strong kisses. At times it appeared Joe would flee, as he seemed so trapped, but there was a sense of inherent morality, a duty to wed soon, while he sat studying for exams. The action takes place outdoors, with free spirit and unrestricted optimism. Yet, the narrators, in impeccable, regional brogue, keep the audience grounded, always aware of the day’s final hours.

In “Losers”, the older two lovers (Andy and Hanna) are the first act’s narrators, jumping onto each other on a comfortable couch, on the level above. Their intermission transformation was remarkable. Down below, Hanna’s mother Mrs. Wilson (Nora Chester) feigns terminal illness, while she invokes the power of God and saints to manipulate her daughter’s love life. Cynthia Darlow, as Cissy, Mrs. Wilson’s elderly friend, caters to the bedridden malcontent with folksy, small town witticisms. Andy often serves as in-character narrator, again unfolding the future, while the action takes a break. Friel adds great humor to “Losers”, with mature, casual flair, while “Winners” had been a relentless diatribe of youthful ebullience. TACT, The Actors Company Theatre, is dedicated to bringing rare plays to life. Drew Barr directed for the realization of that very life force. The audience leans forward as the dynamic and magnetic dialogue progresses. Brett Banakis’ two-level set is fascinating and transporting. Kudos to TACT.

Justine Salata and Cameron Scoggins
in Brian Friel's "Lovers", Presented by TACT
Courtesy of Hunter Canning

Kati Brazda and James Riordan
in Brian Friel's "Lovers", Presented by TACT
Courtesy of Hunter Canning

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at