The Wyatt Deck was dark and peaceful, the weather edging towards chilly but the audience companionable. It wasn’t long before the stage lights flickered and the Common House’s production of Craig Lucas’ Prelude to a Kiss began. The play is a somewhat dark romantic comedy that delves into the question that Lana Del Rey crooned and every girl wonders: will you still love me when I’m not young and beautiful? Or in the case of this play: when I’m not young or female.
The play centers on the self-conscious but sincere Peter [Connor Dick], and the pessimistic but spontaneous Rita [Wendy Wyatt], who meet in a wash of deliberately awkward back and forth that made us cringe in our seats. The two characters soon come together in a whirlwind romance that has them standing at the altar less than three months into their relationship.
Enter the mysterious old man [Joachim Schnier]. Shambling up to the newlyweds he asks in accented English to kiss the bride. It is a strange request to be sure, but one that Rita grants without much hesitation.
Then inexplicably, the world changes and Rita’s and the old man’s souls have switched bodies. The three characters then embark on a darkly funny journey to figure out who’s who and how to get Rita into her body despite the old man’s unwillingness to switch back.
They are aided and abetted by a spot-on supporting cast. Namely, Rita’s parents [Sarah Cohen and Mathew Mueller], and Peter’s sexless friend Taylor,[John Malin]; who offer inexpert advice and try to help reunite the couple.
Prelude to a Kiss plays October 18-20, and 25-27 at 8 pm on the Wyatt Deck in the Arboretum of the UC Davis campus. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors 60 and up. Reservations are recommended.
Photography by Ryan Stewart.