May 1, 2014

Play takes a ride through midlife crisis

Take a joy ride down the middle of a middle-age woman’s middling life in “Becky’s New Car.”

Take a joy ride down the middle of a middle-age woman’s middling life in “Becky’s New Car.”

The comic production from Sonora’s Stage 3 Theatre Company about driving down the road not taken opens tonight and runs through June 1. The new play by Steven Dietz debuted in 2008.

The piece follows Becky Foster, a married woman and mother in her late 40s who is mistaken for a widower by a wealthy customer at the car dealership where she works. What follows is what Variety called a “smart, comic cruise through the perils of middle-aged longing and regret.”

The Stage 3 production is directed by Traci Sprague, the artistic director for Modesto’s Center Stage Conservatory. The cast features Shari Schwiegler at the wheel as Becky Foster, a woman in midlife presented with a romantic temptation by wealthy widower Walter Flood (played by Stephen Daly). Denny Bowen stars as Becky’s husband, Joe Foster, and Travis Bainbridge is their college-age, basement-dwelling son, Chris.

Sprague said “Becky’s Car” stands out from other midlife-crisis comedies because it comes at the issue from a female point of view. What results is a “free-wheeling, fast-moving” story that has a lot of heart, she said.

“Sometimes the best adventure of all turns out to be our own messy, beautiful, funny lives,” Sprague said in a release about the production. “For me, what makes ‘Becky’s New Car’ so winning, so worth attending, and so beautifully simple is that it is a play about people – knowable characters, ‘real’ likable humans, flawed and endearing, who can also surprise you. And who most definitely make you laugh.”

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