In 2014, the Community Theatre League, 100 W. Third St., wants to try something new. They are producing both a play, "Alone Together," and its sequel, "Alone Together Again."
The comedy performance serves as an entertaining social commentary regarding the new-age, 21st century family structure, as more children are moving back home or haven't left to begin with, and how parents of these "millenials" deal with it.
The comedy performance with a six-person cast, according to the shows' director, Jason Moyer, will resonate with audiences of all types.
Shown are rehearsal photos from 'Alone Together' and 'Alone Together Again.'
"Alone Together" begins with an older couple, Helene and George, who have finally sent their last son off to college and are finally alone ... "but it's soon disrupted by the return of the two oldest, their youngest son's friend, an attractive young woman, and loads of mayhem," according to ctlnet.org.
The parents attempt to "empty the nest" for good, but "it's not until a well-choreographed fight breaks out that we determine how desperate Helene is to reclaim her home at any cost."
"We chose these plays because everyone on our selection committee laughed out loud reading (the plays), partially because the characters are funny and partially because we can all relate to them so completely," Moyer said.
He added that the stories' playwright has painted a "delightful and true picture of the life of U.S. baby boomers and their families in today's world."
But the story isn't just about baby boomers; the characters of the two plays span three generations of the family.
"I think every audience member will see a piece of (him- or herself) in these characters and will be able to laugh at our society and our own human nature," Moyer said.
The plays are considered a "unit set," which Moyer said means that the entire play takes place in one location, so there aren't major set changes.
"There are changes in the set dressing and details, as the action moves along over a week-long period," he said.
Moyer has been involved with the CTL since 1997, when he said he completed his first production. His first time directing at the CTL was in 2007; "Alone Together" and its sequel, he said, count as his ninth show as a director there.
Although he has been in "(more than) 100 shows in Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut," he said he would be lost without the CTL.
It took about eight weeks, Moyer said, from the time of auditions, to get the performance ready for the premiere of "Alone Together."
"We had our auditions the weekend before New Year's. The rehearsals are actually over six weeks, leading up to the opening night on Feb. 28," he said, adding that the team will have between 55 and 60 hours of rehearsal time under their belts before the premiere.
"The cast is very committed to making a great show," Moyer said.
The cast of "Alone Together" and "Alone Together Again" consists of Keith Wagner and Sandie Fairman, considered theater "veterans" who have performed for many years at the CTL and elsewhere; Joseph Thornabene-Zalas, Brett Schneider and Sean Connelly, first-time performers for a CTL mainstage production; and Liz Rebeck, who returned from last season's "Cash on Delivery," also directed by Moyer.
Jacqueline Engel, the administrative manager and youth programs director at CTL, believes that audiences will be sure to laugh, one way or another, while watching "Alone Together" and "Alone Together Again."
"I think the plot of (the plays) is all too familiar to many of us. With more and more kids moving back in with their parents after college or divorce, it's easy to see how the close proximity can create some hilarious and sometimes completely insane situations," she said. "I think audiences will laugh out loud, not only at the show, but at themselves."
Moyer likes the idea of these performances finding humor within our reality, rather than outside of it.
"In challenging times, theatre can be a welcome escape from the real world. 'Alone Together' and 'Alone Together Again' are two shows that serve a different purpose - they will show us how to find the humor within our reality, which I think is even better than a temporary escape. Learning to laugh at ourselves makes every day better," he said. "For some of us, at least, the craziest thing we have to laugh at is looking back at us in the mirror every day."
CTL plans to run the plays back to back, with "Alone Together slated to run at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 and March 1 and 6 through 8, with a matinee at 2 p.m. March 9.
The sequel, "Alone Together Again" will run 7:30 p.m. April 4, 5 and 10 through 12, with a matinee at 2 p.m. April 13.
Visit ctlnet.org for ticket information.