Theater: The Art of Making a Comedy Work

Kieron Barry's new play, The Official Adventures of Kieron and Jade, is a comedy with pain and loss at its center. "I needed it to be fizzy as champagne," he said, "albeit with a shard of broken glass at the bottom. The story is something awful and grief laden that makes a room full of people laugh."

Barry is referring to his collapsed real-life relationship with a singer-songwriter named Jade. But the subject of the play is more than that. It is the pros and cons of writing about his collapsed relationship. Should he or shouldn't he? Particularly, should he record the happenings - even though the female half of the equation has no input?

Beginning on April 20th, Bridge Street Theater, 44 West Bridge Street, Catskill, will present the world premiere of this comedy, The Official Adventures of Kieron and Jade starring Jason Guy and Bonita Jackson and directed by John Sowle. Performances run Thursday through Sunday for two consecutive weeks. Evenings at 7:30. Matinee on Sunday at 2. The Thursday preview on April 20th and the Sunday matinee on April 23rd are "Pay-What You Can". For reservations, go to http://official.brownpapertickets.com or call 800.838.3006. Further information regarding the performances can be obtained by contacting the theatre at 518.943.3818.

"Having obsessed on my failed relationship for months," Barry said, "I finally decided that my thoughts could be a play. But to write about myself and an unhappy time, the form would require two things. First, it would have to be short. And second, it had to be a comedy. What could be more awful than listening to someone complain about themselves?"

So the playwright morphed his thoughts into a stage production with dialogue delivered in the rapid fire style usually associated with 1930s screwball comedies like The Awful Truth or His Girl Friday. "It's a heightened linguistic form," he explained. "I tried to make every sentence as beautiful as it could be with exquisitely wrought phrases. In a sense, it loses realism, but benefits from that burnished quality."

"Comedy is hard to write. If people haven't laughed in the last 30 seconds, you're in trouble," he adds. "But a benefit is that, as long as people are laughing, you can get away with almost everything else. On paper, this is a play about self-harming, mental illness, even suicide. But, as long as I can make a joke out of it, it will work."

Kieron Barry is best known for his one act comedy, NUMBERS. He has also been showcased locally in the enormously successful 2012 production of Tomorrow in the Battle at Stageworks/Hudson. It was hailed by the Albany Times Union as "one of the most remarkable pieces of theatre in recent memory."

Events at Bridge Street Theatre are supported in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and by Public Funds from the Greene County Legislature through the Cultural Fund administered in Greene County by the Greene County Council on the Arts.

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