Saturday, August 11, 2007

Preview of Fringe Play

Dramatic Heights: Craig Bently, Frank Anthony Polito, Pamela Sabaugh and Fred Backus play two couples who find one another on the Promenade in “Another Day on Willow Street.”

August 11, 2007 / GO Brooklyn / Theater
Where there’s a Willow
By Christopher Murray
for The Brooklyn Paper

It’s another case of life imitating art, or is it the other way around? In Brooklyn Heights-based playwright Frank Anthony Polito’s new show, “Another Day on Willow Street,” the actors playing the two couples the show focuses on are, in fact, in relationships with one another.

“It’s pretty complicated,” admitted Polito. The show, which was scheduled to premiere on Aug. 10 in the 11th annual New York International Fringe Festival, focuses on two Heights couples, one straight and one gay, whose lives become intensely intertwined. And the entire show is set on the Promenade.

“The play really uses Brooklyn Heights and the feel of living there,” said Craig Bentley, Polito’s partner both on and off stage. “It explores why people choose to live there rather than in Manhattan, because of a real love of the Heights and Brooklyn generally.”

Additionally, it explores the relationships of the two couples: an investment banker and his pregnant wife (played by real life couple Fred Backus and Pamela Sabaugh) and their new acquaintances, a gay couple who want to get married — but not before one of them comes out to his family.

“A lot of people who know us might think the characters are us,” said Bentley. “But in reality, it’s more that some of the elements of real life are taken and then mixed up.” Polito said that living in the Heights inspired him to invent the characters and to put them in the kinds of situations that the neighborhood creates.

“When the woman is sitting on the Promenade sipping Starbucks one day,” explained Polito, “she meets one of the gay men and they discover that they’re next door neighbors and become good friends.”

The topicality of the play, with its issues of gay marriage and the impact of gentrification on a neighborhood in Brooklyn, is intensified by its being set just before Sept.11, 2001.
As for the complexities of two real life couples portraying two couples, Polito said he’s just a bit nervous about acting opposite his real life love.

“The conflict of the gay couple is so close to a conflict that we had in real life,” he said. “I hope Craig remembers that I’m just acting!”

“Another Day on Willow Street” runs through Aug. 26 at the Fringe Festival. Tickets are $15. For information and exact showtimes, visit

No comments: