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Barefoot In the Park
Opposites attract in this hilarious comedy about newlyweds, Corie and Paul. Corie the fun-loving wild child and Paul the serene, up and coming lawyer. Victor Velasco, the eccentric, suave man and Mrs. Banks, the lonely mother of Corie whose personality is as dull as a nail. In this comedy, everything is possible. By the end of the night, Mrs. Banks is so drunk with oozooes, an Arabian alcoholic beverage, she can’t even make a fist.
Barefoot in the Park is a play written by Neil Simon, a world famous playwright. The play is set in February of 1963, in New York City where Corie and Paul Bratten have just moved into a small top floor brownstone apartment that has a hole in the roof. Corie and Paul have many adventures with their upstairs neighbor, Mr. Victor Velasco and Corie’s mother, Mrs. Banks. When Mr. Velasco takes Corie, Paul, and Mrs. Banks to a restaurant on Staten Island for Corie and Paul’s housewarming party, the unthinkable happens.
Corie Bratten is fun-loving and wild. She’s like a kid on a caffeine high. She just doesn’t know when to settle down. Corie yearns for her mother to find love so she sets her up with Mr. Velasco. She is Paul Bratten’s wife. She is one of the main characters.
Paul Bratten is a calm and collected up and coming lawyer. According to Corie, he’s also a “stiff shirt,” because he’s so neat and tidy. The apartment isn’t what Paul imagined it would be especially with the five flights of stairs, not counting the stoop. He is Corie Bratten’s husband. He is one of the main characters.
Mrs. Banks is the lonely mother of Corie Bratten. She seems to always remind Corie that she’s just “a lonely old woman living in New Jersey who sleeps on a board.” She is fixed up with Mr. Velasco by Corie and she has the most unusual but the time of her life. She is one of the main characters.
Victor Velasco is the eccentric, fifty-eight year old mountain climber who lives above Corie and Paul in apartment 6A. He has to use the fire escape to get to his apartment because he’s behind on rent by four months. He takes Mrs. Banks for a joyride, never looking back as she is too drunk to notice. He is a main character.
One of the technical elements in Barefoot in the Park I thought was interesting was that there actually was a glass roof above the set that had a hole in it. Normally when you look up in the arena theatre, you just see the catwalks and lights. But this time it was a real roof that the actors sometime used. It made you feel like the set was a real apartment. I’m sure the set designer, Tom Tutino, wanted you to feel that way as well. It also gave you the feeling of seeing the movie in real life.
Props were a major part in this production. There were lots of items that you wouldn’t even think would be thought of to go in a play. Because the play was set in 1963, the prop designer, Mark Walston, had to really think about the time period. It was hinted that it was set in the 1960’s because of all the random patterns that didn’t really go together, the radiator, and fire powered stove. One of the other props that surprised me was the use of real food. There were at least three different scenes that had real food used and eaten by actors. They also had running water at the sink which really surprised me because I’d never seen that before. They had snow as well which came through the hole in the roof and covered Paul when he was forced to sleep on the couch because of Corie.
The costumes seemed like something you’d get out of the thrift shop which is what I think is what the costume designer, Lorraine Venberg, wanted especially because this play was set in 1963. In the first scene, Corie was wearing a light orange button down shirt with brown, green, and orange plaid. They didn’t go together very well but those types of patterns and mismatch was popular back then.
The lighting for Barefoot in the Park wasn’t really anything spectacular because they were in the apartment the whole time. It was just regular light bulb and fluorescent lighting that you’d find in an apartment. It wasn’t a bad thing because it would’ve looked weird if there were a lot of light changes when depicting an apartment. I think the lighting designer, Brian J. Lilienthal made great choices.
Barefoot in the Park was a fantastic show. I would see it again in a heartbeat. The funny jokes, the crazy people, it just makes you feel like you were watching a sitcom. You’ll be sad that they aren’t your next door neighbors. It’s so great, it’ll have you walking barefoot in the park.