One Step, Two Step: Dancing Lessons

. December 19, 2018.
Photo credit: Barbara Barkan. Thea Grabiec (L) and Andrew Packar rehearse. “This show has much to say about human interaction, understanding, perception and acceptance,” says director Barbara Barkan.
Photo credit: Barbara Barkan. Thea Grabiec (L) and Andrew Packar rehearse. “This show has much to say about human interaction, understanding, perception and acceptance,” says director Barbara Barkan.

Two people meet. A story as old as life itself, with no two versions ever quite the same. In this iteration, a man, Ever, wants to learn how to dance so he won’t embarrass himself at an upcoming event. His downstairs neighbor, Senga, an accomplished dancer, is recovering from a career-threatening injury. Over the course of the play, these two characters connect in a funny and touching tale of the common ground often found in unexpected ways.

Not exactly a love story

“Dancing Lessons, Mark Germain’s two-person play, is a comedy by definition,” said director Barbara Barkan. “Dialog is quick and snappy. Humor is sharp, engaging and thought provoking. While not exactly a love story it brings two people together in a unique way.”

Barkan came across the play, originally published in 2015, and presented it to the Village Players board for consideration.

“This show has much to say about human interaction, understanding, perception and acceptance. This show speaks volumes,” Barkan said.

One of the important aspects of the show, Barkan noted, was to be accurate and respectful in its depiction of Asperger’s Syndrome— the Autism spectrum developmental disorder that Ever, the male lead, carries with him.

“My goal at the onset was to be authentic, truthful. I researched a long time and had discussions with several people who were on the spectrum or had a close family member on the spectrum. Keep in mind, however, this play is not about Aspergers. Both characters have certain challenges and through them they begin to understand themselves and each other.”

Truthfulness and authenticity

On a technical level, Barkan said the show aims for a realistic aesthetic to compliment the script’s down-to-earth approach. Characters brought to life by a pair of extremely talented local actors carry the entire production onstage.

“Rehearsals are so much more than line memorization and blocking,” Barkan said. “The two actors, Thea Grabiec and Andrew Packard, are sensitive, intelligent, articulate and committed to the truthfulness and authenticity of this relationship. The set, tech, and production values are realistic. Nothing idealized or stylized.”

“Audience members will take from this show what they each experience,” explains Barkan. “There is no one message. It’s personal, relevant and relatable.”

$20, general | $18, seniors and students.
January 11-19. 8pm, Thursday-Saturdays.
2pm, Sunday, January 13.
The Village Players Theatre, 2740 Upton Ave.
419-427-6817 | thevillageplayers.org