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'At First Sight' makes return to Capital City

'At First Sight' makes return to Capital City

May 31st, 2018 by Adam Cole, For the News Tribune in Life & Entertainment

(Photo by Adam Cole - The News Tribune) Claudia Scott, left, who plays Senator Feldman, works a scene of "At First Sight" with Carrie Peter, Brian Harper and Jeff Ball at a rehearsal on Thursday, May 24.

Although this is only the second show she's directed, the experience of directing the Little Theatre of Jefferson City's production of "At First Sight" has been somewhat familiar for Maria Bish.

Bish, who submitted the show to be a part of the Little Theatre 2018 season, was in the production six years ago when it was put on by Scene One Theatre.

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"I thought of this show," Bish said. "I just remembered it being really funny when we did it. And it's a small cast, basic set. The expense would be minimal to produce it. So I submitted it."

Taking the Miller Performing Arts Center stage June 7-9, playwright Anne Pié's "At First Sight: A Contemporary Comedy in Two Acts" is about 51-year-old Julia Goldman. A widow of two years and mother of two, Goldman, played by Carrie Peter, has lived comfortably and well-off in her Hollywood home until a chance encounter with a mystery man puts her in a situation of pandemonium.

"The happenings — and I'm not going to tell you all of it because I don't want to give it away," Bish said, "but the happenings of these people's lives and their interactions (are) kind of true to life. It's not so exaggerated that it's not something that would happen in a family."

Bish isn't the only member of the production who's been in this show before. Brian Harper, who plays Vern Fields, and Claudia Scott, playing Senator Feldman, were a part of Scene One's 2012 production of the show.

For Harper, who played Curtis Goldman in Scene One's production, the experience still feels fresh for a show he's quite accustomed to.

"You always find something new every time you do it," Harper said. "Usually like three weeks after the show, you're like, 'Oh wait, this line meant this.' Well, now we're discovering what some of the lines meant that — six years ago — we were like, 'I wonder what that really meant?'"

There seems to be a common thread throughout the Little Theatre's production of the show, both on and off the stage: family.

"I think that our audience members will fall in love with the crazy, dysfunctional Goldman family," Harper said. "There's a bit of everyone in the characters. Everyone has that annoying sibling, or you have that one know-it-all friend or you've had something unexpected happen to you in your life.

"This show really tells you to find the humor in every situation and even if it wasn't what you were expecting, it might be the blessing you were hoping for all along."

While the fictional family on stage is set to give audience members a laugh, that's in part because of a close-knit cast.

"I think it's just the family being a family," Bish said of what she enjoyed most about directing the show. "Since it's a small cast, most of the people here I have worked with before in costuming or whatever in other shows. People always ask, 'You do this and you volunteer and you don't get paid?' But I'm like, 'Yeah, but we are such a family,' and I know if I needed something I could call any of those people in there."

"At First Sight" runs June 7-9, beginning at 7:30 p.m. each night at the Miller Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $15 online and at the door. For more information, visit tltjc.org.