See a Comedy Tonight at MRT

Remember when you could do a movie date night with popcorn for around $20? Those days are long gone. These days a night at the movies can break the bank, especially if you’re opting for IMAX or 3D or heaven forbid, popcorn. And after all that, what have you got? Nothing too different from a night in your own living room with a $1 rental. (Plus the treats are a lot cheaper at home.)

But there’s one thing that’s always better: a night at the theater. When you see a play you’re seeing something unique, something that will never happen quite the same way again. There’s a kind of energy when the performers are right there, just a few feet in front of you, breathing the same air that you are. I’ve managed to get to the theater a few times this past year and I love how invigorated I feel when I go.

A scene from Half ‘n Half ‘n Half. Photo by Meghan Moore

So I must urge you local Boston folks to head over to Lowell for the Merrimack Repertory Theatre‘s production of Half ‘n Half ‘n Half. Which isn’t just great theater, but a world premiere of this new play. And while I love community theater where you get to watch your neighbors don makeup and wigs, these are the kind of actors you’d see in New York theaters or on television screens. (Some of them you probably have seen on TV.) (Junior year of college roommates: the lead male in the play was Nasedo on Roswell. FLASHBACK. Alas I was not quite brave enough to geek out in front of him. Also, can we talk about how miscast Kyle from Roswell is on Revenge??? So wrong.)

Ahem. Anyway. The great thing about theater is that the ticket prices (if you take the cheap seats like me) will run you about the same as an evening show at a Boston movie theater. When you realize you’re looking at two things with equal cost, I’m betting you’d rather have the evening at a play, am I right?

This was my first time at MRT and I was in love with their newly remodeled theater. It’s cozy but spacious. There is not a bad seat in the house. The chairs are brand new: plush and comfy. The sound was great. I was just in love with that little theater.

And the play! The play’s the thing, no? Comedy is a great way to get the reluctant theatergoer into coming with you if you happen to have a significant other who doesn’t see what the big deal is. It’s okay, they probably haven’t ever seen a comedic play. They don’t know what they’re missing. I suggest educating them. And this is a great way to do it.

Half ‘n Half ‘n Half is a comedy in the vein of Noises Off! (If you haven’t seen the movie version of that play, featuring Michael Caine, John Ritter, Carol Burnett and Christopher Reeve, I suggest you do so ASAP. It’s been released on DVD but you may have to hunt it down.) It’s a play-within-a-play style show. And I am a total sucker for that stuff. Love books about writers. Movies about show business. And plays about the theater.

It follows George and Loretta, two long-married actors who are doing a tour with their now-grown daughter, also an actor. This isn’t just any show business family. The thing about George and Loretta is they’ve been planning to get divorced for years and once this tour is done they’ll finally have the money to do it. But first they’ll have to make it through these last few shows. It doesn’t sound so bad, except for the fourth actor in their troupe who keeps getting in the middle of their family squabbles.

There are actually two plays, and you get to see not only a Russian drama and an early 20th century farce. (Neither of these other plays are real, of course.) These actors will have you pretty impressed as they manage both these very different works and their off-stage antics.

I attended with my friend Christy and we both laughed ourselves silly. I wish I could share some of the gags with you, but it would rob you of some hilarious surprises and I wouldn’t want to do that to you. Half ‘n Half ‘n Half also had a lot of heart, and left me smiling when it was done. This theater-lover was very pleased. I feel comfortable recommending it to pretty much anyone.

If you’d like to go, you can go to to buy tickets. They’re playing through December 23rd, Wednesdays through Sundays, with weekend matinees as well. (For group sales of 6 or more you can save up to 25%, just call 978-654-7561.) I was definitely impressed with the MRT, you can check out the rest of their season here. You can also follow them on Twitter or like them on Facebook.

Seriously. Spice up your next night out. You’ll remember it a lot more than you will a night at the movies with that terrible popcorn.

I attended Half ‘n Half ‘n Half as press for the purposes of posting a review. Thanks to MRT.

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