SCOTTSBLUFF—Audiences can expect a dinner and a show at the upcoming performances of “Play It Again, Sam” at Western Nebraska Community College.
The play is based around a divorced movie critic named Allan, who imagines the actor Humphrey Bogart visiting him to give relationship advice.
Thompson said he tries to pick plays based on what is happening in society.
“I think we have some issues on how we treat women that are being addressed these days,” Thompson said. “I think Allan is very helpful because he tells us and shows us what not to do. Bogart, as well, stands for this archaic type of womanizing behavior. We laugh at it, we turn it into a joke, but hopefully we come away learning something and teaching our young men how to behave better.”
Woody Allen, the author of the play, has been under fire for sexual abuse. Thompson hopes to use that to his advantage and make a good situation out of a bad one.
“We’re going to take this piece, we’re going to teach our young men and bring the conversation to the table about how you should behave,” he said. “I like the idea of taking something that may have a negative connotation and have some good stuff come of it.”
The play, Thompson said, is a very dry comedy. He is attempting in this production to make it suit local sensibilities.
“What I’m doing is, I’m hammering it into a farce,” he said. “It lends itself that way already. When you think about Woody Allen, you think of dry wit and humor. I’m kinda forcing this farce on top of this and engaging with the audience. I’m making it a bigger, brighter spectacle.”
Thompson said his biggest concern with the play is that he’s trying to adapt to a new space. Due to construction on WNCC’s main stage, the play is being produced in the low bay of the John Harms Center. Fortunately for him, the cast is made up of second year actors.
“They know my process, they can tell when I don’t like what I’m seeing,” he said. “They trust me, which is really cool, and I trust them.”
The play will be part of a dinner theater experience on March 2-4. The doors will open half an hour before dinner starts. After the main course, the play will begin. In between acts one and two, dessert will be served.
The dinner theater will begin at 7:30 p.m. on March 2 and 3 and at 2 p.m. on March 4. Tickets for the dinner theater will be $25. There will be an additional show-only performance on March 4 at 7:30 p.m. for $5.