The woman you’ve just married seems strangely changed. Perhaps it’s because her soul magically exchanged bodies with a peculiar elderly man who wandered upon the wedding reception and kissed the bride.
What if, as one journalistic wit put it, your princess turned into a frog?
Santa Rosa Junior College’s Theatre Arts Department kicks off its 2014 season with an intimate and enjoyable look at love in “Prelude to a Kiss.”
Partly a romantic comedy and partly a whacky fantasy, the play goes further by considering how deep our commitments should be in a world both broken and beautiful. It suggests that we should cling to those we love, no matter what, until all too soon death separates us.
Before the play, a slide show prepares us with shots of couples who have some connection to the college or the production. The images show us young and old, gay and straight, twosomes side by side or embracing. We see the closed eyes and tender smiles that remind us of the enchantment, bliss and companionship that love can bring.
The production works well thanks to its three lead actors. Kot Takahashi plays Peter, a young man who has broken all ties with his uncaring, divorced parents. The actor’s doe-in-the headlight eyes deftly display first the wonder of finding someone who really loves him and then the horror that somehow he may have lost that special person forever.
Peyton Victoria plays Rita and she captures well her character’s contradictions – first a seemingly free-spirited siren who turns out to be too afraid of the world to have children, and then a woman inhabited by the soul of a dying geezer (and still later a woman with an old male’s soul trying to fool Peter into thinking that he’s just Rita.)
And Ron Smith, as the old man, gives us a winsome portrayal of post-kiss Rita trying to come to terms with how her life has changed.
The play continues in the small venue of Newman Auditorium at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For tickets and information, click here.
The junior college’s Theatre Arts season continues Nov. 21 through Dec. 7 with “The Phantom of the Opera.” Next spring will feature “American Night: The Ballad of José” on March 6-15 and “Footloose” April 17 to May 3.
— Robert Digitale