Comedian/banjo player/actor Steve Martin is also a playwright and just as unconventional a playwright as you might imagine.
The Centenary Stage Company’s production of Martin’s Meteor Shower opened on Friday, February 18, in the Sitnik Theatre of the Lackland Center on the Centenary University campus in Hackettstown.
At first, the new age-y, touchy-feely antics of Norm and Corky seem over-the-top. Well, they are, but so is everything else about this play in which Norm and Corky invite new friends Laura and Gerald over to see the titular meteor shower from their hilltop, far from the ambient light in Santa Barbara where the other couple lives.
The plot is nonlinear but draws the audience in to savor the alternative scenarios of the visit, which is less about meteors than it is about marriage. It is also occasionally about eggplant, the Zen of waxing a car and cannibalism in the Himalayas (just another day at the office, apparently).
A warning here: You’re not going to like any of the protagonists, but you are going to be entertained by them. Unsurprisingly, Martin’s dialogue is intelligent, rapid-fire funny and likely to catch the audience off-guard.
Corky is Suzanne Kimball (second from right), seen in other CSC productions. Corky is, in a way, the most understated character of the foursome, which probably make her the most difficult to play. Kimball is a total pro.
Emaline Williams (above, left), an Equity actor often seen at CSC, did an excellent job as the somewhat more mysterious Laura. And Scott McGown (above, right) was excellent as the over-the top Gerald.
The production was directed by CSC Artistic Director Carl Wallnau with his usual panache.
Special shoutout to costume designer Meghan Reeves for the quintessentially California outfit Corky wore.
Meteor Shower runs through March 6. Tickets range from $25 to $29.50 for adults with discounts available for seniors, students, and children 12 and younger. For more information, go to centenarystageco.org or call the Centenary Stage Company's box office at (908) 979-0900.
A special understudy performance is on Wednesday, March 2, at 7 p.m.
It’s definitely a not-to-miss show, but I’m warning you, you may never think of electric pencil sharpeners the same way again.