Canadian-born playwright Bernard Slade's first play on Broadway, Same Time, Next Year — presented Feb. 14-23 by OdysseyStage at The Chapel Hill Senior Center — is an endearing offbeat romantic comedy about Doris (Sheila Outhwaite) and George (Larry Evans), a housewife and an accountant who meet once a year for a night of passion. Doris and George are married, but not to each other. Their once-year-year rendezvous at a romantic seaside hotel in the wine country of California adds spice to their otherwise humdrum lives. It's just a little harmless adultery.
When Same Time, Next Year opened on Broadway in 1975, the country was in the midst of a sexual revolution. The play's concept of a headboard-rattling one-night stand, repeated annually for 25 years from 1951 to 1975, was fresh and very, very funny. Audiences enjoyed seeing the characters grow and change in the days before AIDS made such dangerous liaisons potentially fatal encounters, not just for the participants, but for everyone with whom they exchanged bodily fluids.
The original production of Same Time, Next Year, directed by Gene Saks and starring Charles Grodin and Ellen Burstyn, ran for almost four years, earned a Tony® Award nomination, and won a Drama Desk Award. Martin Gottfried of The New York Post saluted the original production as "genuinely funny and genuinely romantic." Clive Barnes of The New York Times boldly claimed, "It is the funniest comedy about love and adultery to come Broadway's way in years."
The film version of Same Time, Next Year, directed by Robert Mulligan and starring Ellen Burstyn and Alan Alda, opened in 1978. The movie's tagline was, "They couldn't have celebrated happier anniversaries if they were married to each other."
Candace Rohm will direct the OdysseyStage presentation of Same Time, Next Year, which the Encyclopedia of Canadian Theatre claims is "the most produced two-character play in history" and characterized as "Not a work of genius, but certainly a well-crafted and often funny play. Mr. Slade also wrote a sequel to the work, 'Same Time, Another Year' and there is a musical version of the play which has been produced under the title 'Every Time I See You.'"
OdysseyStage presents Same Time, Next Year Thursday-Friday, Feb. 14-15 and 21-22, at 8 p.m and Sunday, Feb. 16 and 23, at 3 p.m. in the Robert E. Seymour Theatre in The Chapel Hill Senior Center on Elliott Road in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. $12 ($10 students, seniors, and active military personnel). 919/490-1828 or firstname.lastname@example.org. http://www.odysseystagetheatre.org/.