There’s not much Carmel director and writer Tom Parks wants his audience to know about the play The Interview – A Mystery before they come to see it. Fair enough.
But Parks wants them to leave the Carl Cherry Center even more bewildered, he says, if properly entertained. Thoughts will certainly be provoked by this new original play, followed by – perhaps – a sleepless night haunted by questions: Could it really be? Is it possible at all?
“I can’t reveal anything else than is already revealed in the press release,” he says, the creator’s joy and some mischief in his eyes. While being interviewed during dress rehearsals a week before the Friday, May 12 opening, Parks is still not sure how effectively he was able to pull off his trick, and how quickly the audience will pick up on clues.
Here’s what is revealed: A retired journalist, a former hot shot who drinks too much, gets an assignment to write about an old artist living in a small town in Oregon. The profile seems like a straightforward job, until the journalist meets his intriguing, lively interlocutor. Who is this woman with a foreign accent, an abstract painter (but clearly so much more than a painter) who kept moving West until she found no more West to move to?
This is not Parks’ first play at the Cherry, or even his first “Interview.” A play titled Interview, featuring Carol Daly as Gertrude Stein and Keith Decker as Charles Lindbergh, was staged there in 2021.
Now, Daly as We’d-Rather-Die-Than-Tell-You-Who and Decker as journalist Charlie Simpson, return on stage in The Interview – A Mystery. Daly is marvelous with her European accent and old lady ways – distant, scary, charming and psychologically complex. The dialogue is wonderful and lets everyday simple humor come to the surface of a much more serious reflection on the mysteries of history and human nature.
For Parks, this production has been a long time coming. “This [play] has been on my mind for the last 25 years. I couldn’t figure out how to do it.” Then he came up with an idea.
“I thought I would use a journalist to tell the story,” Parks says. “And as he starts to tell the story, he walks into the past and meets her.”
The Interview – A Mystery 7:30pm Fridays and Saturdays; 2:30 Sundays from May 12 through June 4. Carl Cherry Center for the Arts, 4th and Guadalupe, Carmel. $25. 717-7373, carlcherrycenter.org
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