Little Theatre of Norfolk Presents ONE SLIGHT HITCH
And not just one play - more than 40! Lewis Black actually began his career as a playwright, but failed. Then at age 40, he shifted to stand-up comedy. His comedy career took off, landing him steady tours and a featured segment on Comedy Central's The Daily Show. Black originally wrote One Slight Hitch in 1980, but it never really took off. He was encouraged to re-work the script years later in 2011. The updates resulted in a hit that has become a favorite of repertory theater.
Black is most commonly associated with his fiery, politically-charged comedy persona, but there's no part of that in One Slight Hitch. As Black explained in a 2015 interview with ABC 40's David Madsen, "If my name weren't on it, nobody would know I wrote this play."
While the script is not what audiences would associate with Black, the story is one that's personal to him. He based the character of Ryan, the bride's ex-boyfriend, on himself. In One Slight Hitch, Ryan shows up at his ex-girlfriend's upper-class Cincinnati home on the morning of her 1981 wedding. Father of the bride Doc answers the door to find this unwelcomed surprise, and spends his efforts trying to get rid of him before he is discovered by his wife, three daughters, and his future son-in-law. "His daughter Courtney's wedding day is one of the happiest days of his life and everything is perfect. Suddenly, everything he does turns to mush and no matter how hard he tries to regain control, things just keep getting crazier," said Rick Hamblin, who plays Doc in the Little Theatre of Norfolk production.
In real life, Black's live-in girlfriend always told him she would never marry, but then two weeks after leaving to film a movie, she called to tell him she was marrying someone else. The wedding took place six months later and all of his friends were invited, but not him. After the wedding, his friends told him it was crazy she married that guy, and not him. Black always imagined what it would have been like if he had gone to that wedding.
Hamblin believes if there was such a genre as "American farce," Black nailed it with this script. "Lewis Black has all the elements of a good farce here: broadly drawn, but believable situations and characters, split-second timing of entrances and exits, and plenty of doors! As with any good farce, this script demands that the cast and crew be on their toes at all times. One missed cue can cause the whole train to derail. That's what's so fun about this show. That's what I love about farce," explains Hamblin.
Director Ann Heywood has been doing theatre for 50 years in Hampton Roads and Hawaii, including teaching, directing, and performing. She most recently graced the Little Theatre of Norfolk stage this past spring, as the mother superior in Agnes of God. Following the show's close, someone suggested she apply to direct One Slight Hitch. Having retired only a few months ago, Heywood saw this as the perfect opportunity to get back into directing. "I like that it's a sweet comedy. It's sort of about family values. In this time, right now, people need something like that. There is a need to reminisce, to be nostalgic," said Heywood. "I'm trying to show their story as the human story that never changes since the beginning of time. Families grow and change and everyone ends up on a different journey in life."
One Slight Hitch opens November 1 at Little Theatre of Norfolk, located at 801 Claremont Avenue in the Chelsea neighborhood of Norfolk. The production runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. through November 24. Tickets are available at ltnonline.org or by calling the box office at (757) 627-8551. Tickets are $18 for adults; $15 for seniors, military and students; and $9 for youth age 17 and under. Free parking is available in the lots behind the theatre and across the street. Opening night is '80s night. Audience members are encouraged to wear '80s attire to the November 1 performance.
Little Theatre of Norfolk is a volunteer led, non-profit community theatre, continually operating since 1926.