Suite Surrender is a new farce from playwright Michael McKeever that is set in a Palm Beach, Florida hotel, but gets transported to the Great Lakes Bay area for the royal treatment in a set of performances by Bay City Players that will run from November 13-15 & 20-22nd.
This award-winning South Florida playwright's comedy first surfaced in 2007 and takes place at the luxurious Palm Beach Royale Hotel. The year is 1942 and the hotel is under siege as two of Hollywood’s biggest divas, whom also happen to despise one another, each vie for the same suite. Mistaken identities, overblown egos, double entendre's, and a very pampered little lap dog all converge together to drive the laughs in this comedic farce.
McKeever has written 15 plays and won two South Florida Carbonell Awards — for The Garden of Hannah List and Charlie Cox. From That Sound You Hear, his first play that premiered in 1996, to Suite Surrender, McKeever's oeuvre includes comedies, dramas, thrillers and farce.
According to Director Gordon Levine, “Suite Surrender is a newer play authored by a very popular South Florida author & actor and its fresh blood for American Community Theatres. I love that it is set in the WW2 era because it gives me as a director a lot of latitude to incorporate big band music from the minute the house opens till it closes. It shares a time that is fading fast in the collective memory of our country. Also this play is staged in West Palm Beach, which allows us to build a Mizneresque set. Addison Mizner of West Palm Beach was one of the country’s greatest architects of that era, with tall ceilings, beautiful woodwork, light breezy colors, and a Spanish taste to boot!”
Levine is pleased that the audition process was fun and quick and says he was happy to be able to cast the play from the 20 actors that showed up. “This cast has been a pleasure to work with. At the first get together I told them all I hoped was that this theatrical experience would be one of their best. I want this theater experience to be their refuge from all the life stresses.”
“The last time I directed at the Players was at the end of season 72, as I’ve been out of the state,” he continues. Godspell was the show in July 1989 and this is now season 98. My current cast member Mike Wisniewski was also a cast member in that production as well. Bay City Players is the oldest continuing Community Theater in the state and the 2nd oldest in the Country, so this is all very exciting and rewarding for me.”
As a director, what are some of the qualities & themes embedded within this production that Gordon is trying to emphasize or focus attention upon? “As earlier touched upon, because this play takes place in the early 40s I am filling the entire evening from house open to close with my favorite big band hits. It will really add to the overall flavor of the whole production. Through the laughing and the comedy of this production, the story hits upon how important it was during WW2 to raise funds to fund the war effort and the reason the Divas have come to West Palm Beach is to be part of a star studded show to sell tickets to help the war effort. Back then the whole country pitched in during time of war, which is a far cry from today.”
“Comedy and Farce is one of the oldest forms of entertainment in the world,” concludes Levine. “Aristophanes who live 400 BC was one of the first playwrights composing farcical plays in Athens. In 1500’s Italy you have the Commedia del arte - a theater troupe who created slapstick comedy and used real slap sticks! Morphing to Modern Farce that came out of 1800's France is essentially the same style we use today.”
“Throughout the history of the world it is Farce and Comic Farce that has endured and brought laughter and a break from reality for hundreds of millions of people for thousands of years!”
Suite Surrender will run from Nov. 13-15 and 20-22 at the Bay City Players, 1214 Columbus Ave. Performance times are 8 pm Friday and Saturday and 3 pm on Sunday. Tickets are available at www.baycityplayers.com or through the box office Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Ticket prices are $10 for students, $16 for seniors; and $18 for adults.