Not everybody in theater gets a second chance, either with a role or a production. But for the three actors and one director behind “Pvt. Wars,” which comes to Center Stage Theater tonight, they get an opportunity to return to a show from years ago.
These three actors, Sean O’Shea, George Coe, and Sean Jackson, along with Bill Egan, their director, mounted James McLure’s play two years ago at Plaza Playhouse in Carpinteria. Mr. McLure’s play, which started as a one-act in 1979 then got rewritten as a two-act years later, features three Vietnam vets in a VA hospital, all dealing with PTSD. But it’s also funny, a character study of the ways humans cope with trauma, try to make connections, and concoct strategies to get through the day. It’s an anti-war play that doesn’t mention the war, but just honestly looks at the people left in its aftermath.
“It Had To Be You,” the charming two-character comedy by Renee Taylor and Joseph Bologna, earned several standing ovations last year in its Circle Bar B Theater run. The odd couple of Sean O’Shea and Tiffany Story, along with director Bill Egan — together known as Acting Up Productions — are back for a second go ’round this year. They’ve moved, however, and have taken up residence at the Center Stage Theater for a production to open this Thursday.
In this swift-moving farce, a down-on-his-luck theater producer named Vita Pignoli comes to the downstairs apartment of the kooky Theda Blau, after she auditions for him. He’s come for what he sees as a one-night stand. She sees his enthusiasm as artistic interest and the visit as her big break, and insists he reads her “masterpiece” and help her find a publisher. The book is awful, of course, and the apartment is kind of claustrophobic, but Vito just can’t seem to leave.