The Frobisher family – not exactly the most functional family in Spokane – returns to the stage of Interplayers Professional Theater today in “Together Again for the Next Time.”
And this time, they’re having a wedding celebration, which should make them even more dysfunctional – or in other words, even more funny.
This is the sequel to 2008’s “Together Again for the First Time,” which confounded all conventional theatrical wisdom by being a big hit for Interplayers. Unknown, locally written plays can be hits, if they’re as well-written and funny as that one.
The Frobishers spring from the fertile imagination of Reed McColm, playwright, actor, director and artistic director of Interplayers.
“Together Again for the Next Time” gives McColm the rare chance to fill all of these roles in the same project. He wrote it, he’s directing it and he’s in it, in the role of Max Frobisher, the patriarch of the blended Frobisher-Wolders clan.
It was particularly easy to fix problems that cropped up in rehearsal, he said, because the director has an in with the playwright.
This will be the world premiere of “Together Again for the Next Time,” but, like the first play, it might end up finding a national TV audience.
“Together Again for the First Time” became a 2008 Lifetime Channel movie starring David Ogden Stiers and Julia Duffy, although it was in considerably altered form. It did well enough for Lifetime that the network approached McColm about writing a sequel.
He was mulling that possibility when he decided to write the stage sequel first.
“We had several requests for the play to come back, which is gratifying for a writer,” said McColm. “But it’s not so much about the writing, as that it was a family play about families. It kind of touched our audiences.
“I have spent a lot of my writing career feeling inferior to other writers, because they are writing about war in Bosnia and I’m writing about a domestic squabble in Spokane.”
But what an entertaining domestic squabble. The first play even included a hysterical living room wrestling match.
That play ended with an engagement. This one features the wedding.
The action again takes place in the Frobishers’ Spokane home, but this time the set has been turned around so that we’ll see the living room and dining room from a different angle.
The 11-person cast features a number of returning actors from the 2008 show, including Damon Abdallah, Jimmy Pendleton, Bethany D. Hart, Christine Cresswell and Micah Hanson.
It also includes Tamara Schupman, Andrew Scott Parish, Wendy Carroll, Mary Starkey and Barrie MacConnell.