Lewis Black, nationally known stand-up comedian, author and social critic, has brought to ACT Theatre in Seattle a new play, One Slight Hitch, that he has been writing, off and on, for the last thirty years. Black has been in Seattle for the past month, tweaking the long-gestating script and helping get the show on its feet.
Jon Stewart fans will immediately recognize Black as a regular guest on “The Daily Show” where he presents his “Back in Black” commentary. Black also tours nationally, doing stand-up. (See two-minute segment here.) Indignation, hyperbole and sarcasm, laced with profanity, characterize his performances. Think rant.
One Slight Hitch takes place in suburban Cincinnati circa 1981. Doc and Delia Coleman plan to throw their eldest daughter the lavish wedding they never had, until her ex shows up and wreaks glorious havoc on the big day. A zany, door-slamming farce, One Slight Hitch is a strangely romantic ride through the deconstruction of one family’s equilibrium. The cast includes veteran Seattle actors Marianne Owen and Bob Wright as the bride’s discombobulated parents.
In a recent interview at ACT Black explained that playwriting, which he studied at Yale, has always stayed with him as a serious ambition while he pursued his television and stand-up careers. He also revealed a longtime Seattle connection: he and Marianne Owen were fellow graduate students at Yale School of Drama.
A few years later Black and Owen shared an apartment in the East Village with other impoverished artists as they were forging their way in the brutal New York acting world. Black reported that Owen was an ideal housemate because unlike the rest of them, she paid her rent on time. While they owned little at that stage of life, Owen had more “stuff” than others, which worked to her disadvantage when burglars broke in and only robbed Owen’s things. Owen fondly recalls that Black was the only roommate who would help her clean the apartment. It’s a treat for Owen and Black to be reunited with One Slight Hitch.
ACT’s Artistic Director Kurt Beattie has kept tabs on this script’s development over the years with an eye toward its eventual production. Preview performances of One Slight Hitch begin tonight. The play opens June 14 and runs through July 8. I have a hunch this is one production you won’t want to miss.