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Wasps in Bed at the Beckett Theatre

- Backstage with the Playwrights

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

A Stinging Romantic Comedy
by Richard Willis Jr. and Nicola Behrman
Story by Raja G. Ogirala and Richard Willis Jr.
Additional Material by Kieron Quirke and Paul Murray
Directed by Lisa Marie Meller

David Alan Basche as Allan
Kelly Deadmon as Betsy
Rick Gifford as Bobby
Alysia Reiner as Raina
Richard Short as Cal
Natasha Malinsky as Reese

Presented by OM Productions
Press: Shaffer-Coyle

Scenic Design: Dustin O’Neill
Costume Design: Deanna L. Berg
Lighting Design: Graham Kindred
Sound Design: Andrew Eisele
Prop Design: Mary Vorrasi
Casting: Jamibeth Margolis, CSA
Advertising: Eliran Murphy Group
Production Stage Manager: Allison Deutsch
General Management: Dean Strober
Company Management: Ginger Dzerk
Marketing: Katie Rosin, United Stages
Production Supervision: Aron Deyo
Executive Producers: Raja G. Ogirala & Raja C. Ogirala

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
October 7, 2006, Matinee

I think the comment heard, as I and a friend exited the theatre, summed up my feelings about this new “Stinging Romantic Comedy”. Two ladies were complimenting the playwright that the weekend Berkshire get-away for three 30ish couples did not end up as traded beds and partners. Surprisingly, this romp in the upscale, cathedral-ceilinged cottage of Allan and Betsy became multiple, monogamous, soul-searching romps, sandwiched between the owners’ unhappy, turned happy sex-capades. This gathering of six was a night-before-the-wedding reunion of three Harvard friends, Betsy, Cal, and Bobby, ten years after graduation. Betsy is married with kids and a cottage, Cal is a “liberal” journalist, who wanders the earth, and Bobby is a happy carpenter, about to be a married (and maybe happy) carpenter.

The uptight and confrontational Cal has brought a Republican Congressional aide, Raina, a lady with flair, frankness, and a figure. The jovial and nervous Bobby has brought his fiancée, Reese, a twangy, perky, girl with a moral fantasy about “saving herself for the marriage” and a sexual history of a thousand men. And then there’s Allan, an executive in the dog food business, who hosts the party, owns the cottage, and supports Betsy and the kids. Betsy is a frustrated writer, a frustrated wife, and Cal’s former lover. There are conversations and confrontations, sexual dysfunction and emotional dysfunction, marital ennui and marital envy. All the psychological demons that threaten to undo relationships are let loose and battled in this war of the sexes and war of the self. Lisa Marie Meller, Director, writes in the program, “…in the spirit of Romantic Comedy, ‘Love Conquers All’ is the name of this dish, and we at Wasps believe that it’s actually true.”

David Alan Basche, as Allan, the married host and Exec., is courageous and funny as the husband with E.D. or, is it his dysfunctional wife? Kelly Deadmon, as Betsy, the blond, ultra-thin wife, who finally resolves the crush of yore, rejuvenates and feminizes before our eyes, becoming an object for her husband’s desire. Rick Gifford, as Bobby, the conflicted fiancé, who’s waiting to get his “wife” into bed, has a super-human heart of gold. Natasha Malinsky, as Reese, that soon-to-be-wife, brings the poignant moment to light, as she recalls her grandmother’s eulogy to her own loving husband, who had born witness to her lifetime in decades of marriage. Alysia Reiner, as Raina, the Republican aide, brought satire and pathos to a character, who pours Tequila in a bikini. And, Richard Short, as Cal, the loquacious and cynical journalist, transformed from hardened cad to vulnerable lover in two brief acts.

It was nice to be surprised by this mostly wholesome romp, as there’s no shortage of “musical bed” comedy around these days. The beginning and end of the play could be altered in future productions to more neatly fit the relationship theme. All in all, this was an enjoyable afternoon at Theatre Row. Before or after the show, for brunch, lunch, dinner, or just dessert and drinks, visit Jack’s, on West 40th Street, between 7th Avenue and Broadway, and ask for Larry. Jack’s is a warm, inviting Irish bistro with an international menu served with Irish hospitality. Tell them you saw them on

Wasps in Bed
Photo courtesy of Bruce Glikas

Wasps in Bed
Photo courtesy of Bruce Glikas

Wasps in Bed
Photo courtesy of Bruce Glikas

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