Dinner With Friends, a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Donald Margulies, is playing to a very receptive audience at the Westport Country Playhouse. If you live in Westport, have two children, a summer-house on Martha’s Vineyard, travel abroad frequently and enjoy gourmet dining with friends, you may know lots of folks whose marriages have eventually gone on the rocks because of boredom and infidelity. This is a comedy-drama about a segment of American society who seemingly has everything, yet no one substantial to cling to.
The simple plot concerns two married couples. There’s the happily married pair, Karen (Jenna Stern) and Gabe (Steven Skybell) and their unhappy best friends, Beth (Mary Bacon) and Tom (David Aaron Baker). Karen and Gabe introduced their friends to each other 12 years ago and the two couples became very close. After a seemingly happy marriage and two children, Beth suddenly announces that Tom has left her for another woman. Beth and Tom are deeply affected by their close friends’ plight. In sorting out the pros and cons concerning their friends, Karen and Gabe begin to doubt and then appreciate their own relationship.
Cunningly beneath the surface, Margulies explores both the comic and serious sides of marital relationships. What distinguishes this play from a TV sit-com is the fact that his words are often sharp and witty. There is a lot of emotion under the direction of Associate Artistic Director David Kennedy. Gliding scenery by Lee Savage produces smooth, almost magical transitions. Mathew Richards’ lighting is enchantingly mood setting, especially in the sunset scene on Martha’s Vineyard.
Plays through June 19; phone: 203-227-4177.