"Fighting Over Beverley"
By Skip Sheffield
How lucky are we that an internationally-acclaimed playwright has taken a personal interest in a local theater company?
The playwright is Israel Horovitz. The company is Theatre at Arts Garage and the play is “Fighting Over Beverley,” running through March 23 at 180 N.W. First St., Delray Beach.
Arts Garage theater artistic director Louis Tyrrell first became acquainted with Israel Horovitz when his Florida Stage performed his work in Manalapan.
Horovitz visited Delray Beach last year when his “Gloucester Blue” was staged.
Set in Gloucester, Mass. in the winter of 1997, “Fighting Over Beverley” is a romantic comedy triangle with a twist: the characters are all but one senior citizens.
Archie (Dennis Creaghan) is a 70-year old British veteran of World War II. When he was 20 he fell madly in love with 18-year-old Beverley (Sandra Shipley. Instead of marrying Archie, Beverley jilted him and was swept away by a heroic American pilot who lost his leg when his plane was shot down.
Zelly (Paul O’Brien) whisked Beverley back to America, leaving Archie to stew ever after. Archie, who lived with his mother until her death, never married. Now that mom is gone he has embarked on a quixotic quest to win back Beverley.
Zelly is understandably upset when he discovers the true nature of Archie’s visit to their Gloucester home. Emotions rise through the first act and peak in the second act when Beverley and Zelly’s daughter Cecily (Erin Joy Schmidt) makes her appearance.
Cecily has just left her abusive husband. Through Cecily’s eyes we see a marriage that is not exactly made in heaven.
Director Tyrrell has cast first-rate professionals, including the locally-based Creaghan and Schmidt; O’Brien, who is an Israel Horovitz specialist who has acted in 14 of his plays, and British born and bred Shipley, who also has numerous Horovitz credentials.
It is quite a treat seeing such polished pros parrying Horovitz’s clever banter. While there is a serious side to the subject, “Fighting Over Beverly” is never a downer. This play has special meaning for someone who loved, lost and mourned at a young age. I did and I do still.
Tickets are $30-$45. Call 561-450-6357 or go to www.artsgarage.org.