1)Because you love Oscar Wilde and/or Monty Python. Evan Smith’s comedy is full of droll reflections, absurd inferences, and hysterically proper Victoriana-even though it was only written a few years ago. Smith is a master at constructing convincing scenarios that take his characters-and the audience-all the way over the top.
2)Because you are in the mood for a good argument. The Uneasy Chair’s main characters-Captain Josiah Wickett and his new landlady, Miss Amelia Pickles-are at odds throughout most of the performance. Should we be surprised that they end up married?
3)Because you are curious about a top director who’s new to town. Dennis Lee Delaney comes to us from Ohio University, where he heads the Professional Directing Program. Delaney also has more than 100 professional productions already under his belt-exactly the kind of talent that Ensemble Theatre hired current Artistic Director Jonathan Fox to attract.
4)Because it provides a funny role for a beautiful young actress. Kim Swennen plays Alexandrina Crosbie, the unmarried niece of Miss Pickles. Swennen just finished a run as Cecily in a Los Angeles production of Tom Stoppard’s Travesties, where she received a slew of excellent reviews. Her classical acting training in London should help with the accent, and her cum laude degree from Yale lends a certain frisson to her stunning good looks. Think Nicole Kidman with the mind of a world-class scientist.
5)Because you love great acting. The leads, Lynne Griffin as Miss Pickles and Michael Rothhaar as Captain Wickett, are both theatrical powerhouses. Catch Griffin here in The Uneasy Chair before you see her on the big screen in not one, but two upcoming major motion pictures: Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium with Dustin Hoffman and Natalie Portman and Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning with Shirley MacLaine. If you travel to Los Angeles often and attend theater there, Rothhaar will be a familiar face from such top venues as the Mark Taper Forum. But even couch potatoes will recognize him from any number of network shows, including Frasier, Family Law, Bones, and NYPD Blue.
The Uneasy Chair runs Tuesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 and 7 p.m. through Sunday, December 23, at the Ensemble Theatre (914 Santa Barbara St.). Opening night is Saturday, December 1, at 8 p.m.