With ‘Happy Days’, The Stars Are Out at Babson! (4.5 Stars)

‘Happy Days’ Written by Samuel Beckett; Directed by Andrei Belgrader; Produced by Commonwealth Shakespeare Company at The Carling-Sorenson Theatre, Babson College, Wellesley, MA. Performances through Nov. 23rd.

It was a fun and star-filled night in Wellesley, Mass. last night and it’s going on all through this weekend with tickets still available! So don’t miss a chance to see one of the iconic plays of the last fifty years performed by two of your favorite stars. If that’s not enough to get you out of your chair then consider that it is all happening in a beautiful intimate theatre, set in the bucolic, stress-free environment of Babson College. Even the parking is copious and free.

The two-person show is headlined by celebrity couple Brooke Adams (“Days of Heaven”, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, “The Dead Zone”) and Emmy-winning actor Tony Shalhoub (“Monk”, “Men in Black”, “Too Big to Fail”). Need more motivation? Then how about the possibility of some star-gazing? Last night’s lobby included an Oscar-winning actor and some local stage luminaries as well as some local TV personalities, turning out to see this fine production and its star power in action.

As for the material presented, do not let the reputation of absurdist author Samuel Beckett’s work put you off the idea. Adams and Shalhoub bring the warmth of their real life love and marriage to this production, making it a rare mix of existential angst and warm, heartfelt humor. Too many people hear a sniglet about the plot of his most famous work “Waiting for Godot” and think they shouldn’t bother. But Beckett is the Stephen King of Philosophy: He takes ordinary people – the type that you can actually relate to – and puts them into extraordinary situations to explore themes that strike at the heart of every man’s existence.

Director Andrei Belgrader has choreographed Brooke Adams’ performance wonderfully – as much as one can for a woman stuck in a hole in the ground (literally!). Ms. Adams must use her expressive facial features – and her arms – to deliver a performance that ranges from the comical to the frustrating to the sorrowful, and she does it effectively.

The stage is a bizarre prop in and of itself (think of an anthill for humans) and is a re-creation of the one used in the smaller venue at The Theater at Boston Court in Pasadena, CA. where the play was performed by Adams and Shalhoub this fall.
All things considered this is a must-see event here in the suburbs of Boston. Avoid the parking woes, the traffic and the high prices of the city and come out to the crisp clean air of the “country” for a bit of star gazing. For more info, go to: http://www.babson.edu/student-life/arts/theater/Pages/default.aspx