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Theater takes steps toward conflict resolution with ‘Barefoot in the Park’

Theater takes steps toward conflict resolution with ‘Barefoot in the Park’
Joshua Evans plays Paul Bratter and Stephanie Skewes plays Corie Bratter in Glendale Centre Theatre's production of "Barefoot in the Park," which opens Dec. 31. (Miguel Vasconcellos / Glendale News-Press)

If the holidays happened to inflame tensions among family members, friends or neighbors, the Glendale Centre Theatre’s production of “Barefoot in the Park,” a comedy about resolving household conflicts, could help mend those rifts.

The play was written by Neil Simon and opened on Broadway in 1963. It was later adapted into a feature film starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda as the naive newlyweds whose relationship woes are exasperated by a meddling mother, an inattentive landlord and six flights of stairs between the street and their apartment.

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The local production is directed by George Strattan — who has previously directed more than 70 plays at the Glendale Centre Theatre — and stars real-life married couple Joshua Evans and Stephanie Skewes as Paul and Corie Bratter.

Brenda Dietlein, the theater's secretary/treasurer, is producing the play.

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“[Strattan] is an amazing director and most of our actors have worked with him,” she said. “He’s a stickler for details, very specific about costumes and sets … and that's what we love about him, and why we trust his vision.”

Dietlein said she and theater representatives are currently reaching out to Simon, hoping he’ll attend a local performance.

Although the play is a comedy, Dietlein said the resolution of common conflicts in it could help audience members.

“I’m hoping it turns out the same as when we did ‘On Golden Pond,’ where so many patrons came in and said ‘thanks for the road map, I’m calling my mom,’” she said. “I’m hoping ‘Barefoot’ … helps families reach out and make a phone call to heal an old wound.”

“Barefoot in the Park” opens on Sunday (New Year’s Eve) for two shows, one at 6 p.m. and the other at 9:30 p.m. The production runs until Feb. 10.

“It’s a wonderful show to laugh out 2017 and laugh in 2018,” Dietlein said.

Performances will be at 8 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays as well as 3 p.m. matinee performances on Saturdays. There will also be performances on select Sundays.

For more information, visit glendalecentretheatre.com.

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