Working with Jane Squire Bruns as Lettice Douffet, and Leah Mazade as her nemesis Lotte Schoen is an amazing experience. Two wonderful actors, well known to Quotidian audiences, going at each other: tempers flaring (the characters, not the actors!), words flying, and masters of the stage in full spate!
Like most outrageous comedies, it has a simple premise – colliding personalities. Lettice is a tour guide in an old British manor house. The tourists seem bored, so Lettice’s imagination takes over and her inventiveness goes so far that she gets fired by Lotte, a fastidious bureaucrat.
Audiences who know the author, Peter Shaffer, will recognize the excitement he generates by opposites colliding. His masterwork, Amadeus, is based on the irreconcilable differences between Mozart and Salieri. The relationships in Shaffer’s other great plays are similar –in Equus the psychiatrist and the boy he’s treating who blinds horses; in The Royal Hunt of the Sun, the conquistador Pizarro ends up killing the Inca God-king Atahualpa.
What’s unique about Lettice and Lovage is that here we have two amazing parts for strong women, and this one’s a comedy. There’s a bit of blood spilled, but it turns out that polar opposites can be friends.
LETTICE AND LOVAGE, featuring Jane Squier Bruns as Lettice Douffet and Leah Mazade as Lotte Schoen, John Decker as Mr. Bardolph, and Elizabeth Darby as Miss Framer, runs April 17 – May 17 at the Writers’ Center in Bethesda, MD. Tickets available at Brown Paper Tickets, or by calling the theater at 301-816-1023.