Danny Fleming is a 30-something video store owner going through the motions of life until a blast from his past arrives unexpectedly. The story of Danny and his former flame-turned-former nun, Meredith, is the premise behind the latest Mid-Ohio Valley Players production, "First Night."
The show kicks off Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and continues at 8 p.m. Feb. 3, 4, 10 and 11 and at 3 p.m. Feb. 5.
The title of the play refers to an annual tradition in New England, taking place each Dec. 31 since its beginning in Boston in 1976. The idea behind the event is to offer an arts-oriented alternative for New Year's Eve. Currently, according to firstnight.org, there are about 70 First Nights across the globe and this year's event attracted one million people to Boston.
Photo submitted by Bob Parsons
The roles of Danny and Meredith in “First Night’ are brought to life by the real-life married couple Andrew Pomerleau and Amanda Anderson.
But the play, written by Jack Neary, is about more than the celebration for which it's named.
"It's a good romantic comedy - not a 'chick flick' - it's a play about a man who has created these fantasies in his head of Meredith," explained veteran director Marlene Somerville.
"First Night" takes place in 1985 in a New England town outside of Boston.
If you go
What: "First Night," a comedy about dreams, life and love.
Where: Mid-Ohio Valley Players Theatre, 229 Putnam St., Marietta.
When: Friday and Saturday and Feb. 3-4, 10-11 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 5 at 3 p.m.
Tickets: $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students and $5 for youth, available at midohiovalleyplayers.org and Marty's Print Shop.
"I called the Chamber of Commerce of Lowell (Mass.) to get a lot of background," Somerville said.
Somerville had directed another Jack Neary play prior to bringing "First Night" to the Becky Thatcher in the winter of 1998-99.
"I just read it and fell in love with it," she said, adding that bringing the play to the MOVP stage now makes it fresh and new.
The roles of Danny and Meredith are brought to life by real-life married couple Andrew Pomerleau and Amanda Anderson. The couple moved to the area in August after spending time in Louisiana and are originally from Massachusetts. Anderson is an English instructor at Washington State Community College.
"We had seen another (MOVP) production - 'The Complete Works of Shakepeare Abridged' - and were so impressed," Anderson said. "We saw they were holding auditions (for 'First Night') and we thought it would be a good way to become involved in the community."
Pomerleau won the role of Danny, a character he describes as a "perpetual child."
"He hasn't really done anything with his life and he lives in an imaginary world," Pomerleau said. "He's a likable character, he's self-deprecating ... I do relate to him a little bit on certain levels."
Pomerleau and Anderson have worked together in the past but nothing as challenging as playing Danny and Meredith, they said.
"This is the biggest opportunity we've had to work together," Anderson said, adding that kissing on stage has been interesting. "It's kind of funny, actually, because we have to pretend like we've never kissed."
The show is geared toward adults and gets a PG-13 rating from the director for mild language and adult themes.
"It is a great date night show," Anderson said.