When Amanda Cross meets Gus Klingman, there are enough sparks to ignite a tiny fire of mutual interest. Amanda, a Southern belle from Tennessee, has knocked on Gus’s door to deliver a missive from the church she attends as she visits her daughter up north in New Jersey.
The Tennessee waltz the pair sweetly dance together, as their courtship advances to matrimony, has been gracefully captured by Kathleen Clark in “Southern Comforts.” The Square One Theatre Company of Stratford will be offering this comedy on a doily- covered platter until Saturday, March 17.
Alice McMahon’s Amanda has a sparkle in her eye and a flirtatious nature to her speech that she applies full force to attract the attention of a rather taciturn and set in his ways widower named Gus, played with prickly perfection by Al Kulcsar. She is a dedicated librarian who believes books and travel widen her world while he is as set in stone as the masonry he craved for a living before he retired.
Both have been deeply affected by the war, Amanda because her first husband brought it home with him from the battlefield and was never able to escape from its haunting shadows, and Gus because it left permanent imprints on his soul. In meeting Gus, Amanda sees the promise of romance that her first marriage never gave her, while Gus feels they are too old for smooching and such stuff. She convinces him otherwise and he stops watching the baseball game on television long enough to hit a few home runs of his own.
Kathleen Clark has fashioned a gentle old-fashioned love story where second chances are possible and even applauded, where happiness and belonging are achievable, even if there have to be accommodations, adjustments and compromises all the way from the wedding chapel to the living room to the cemetery. Tom Holehan provides a loving touch to this sweetheart of a story.
For tickets ($20, seniors, students $19), call Square One Theatre, 2422 Main Street, Stratford at 203-375-8778 or online at www.squareonetheatre.com. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m., with a twilight matinee Saturday, March 17 at 4 p.m. (exit 32 off I-95). The playwright Kathleen Clark will attend the Friday, March 16 performance and participate in a post-performance talkback with the cast, director and audience.
Watch how a determined Southern belle uses her charms to wear down the granite resistance of a staunch Yankee widower. Come cheer for their success.