John Myers is an addict. Fortunately, his addiction is theater not drugs, but that can be as time-consuming and life-absorbing as feeding a golden arm.
Myers is presently directing Private Eyes at the Stage Coach Theatre, his 17th play in the past 10 years. Like any good director, he is excited about the play. "I think it's a show people are going to be talking about. The audience becomes the detective to determine what has actually happened," he said. "Nothing is quite what it seems."
The author, Steven Dietz, is noted for writing plays community theaters love to produce, including the Stage Coach show last March, Rocket Man. This script has been snapped up by 35 regional theaters already, in spite of a poor initial review in the New York Times.
There are five people in the cast, including Mike Mullens as Matthew, an actor; Min D Jensen as his actress wife, Lisa; Chris Schwartz as Adrian, a British director who comes to America to direct a play; and Helene Myers as Cory, the X-factor in the play with a "big secret." Award-winning local costumer Elizabeth Greeley steps into an acting role as Frank, the psychologist who wants her patients to be "frank" with her.
At a recent rehearsal, I quickly learned this is one of those play-within-a-play scripts, with humor derived from the characterizations as well as the situations. As Myers says, there is passion, secrecy, deception and suspicion, and you can't sit back and just watch. You need to be alert to all the signals and signs to learn what is reality and what is illusion.
Myers says Stage Coach Theatre has been his principal home for acting and directing since he appeared there as the bellhop in Lend Me a Tenor in 1991, and he has served as president of the board of directors. He has also shared his talents with several other community theaters and is the supervising director at Boise Little Theater this season. Meyers directed at Spontaneous Productions, presenting a stark and moving play The Guys, about the tragedy of 9-11. Last year, he directed a different version of A Christmas Carol at BLT, and back in '93 he cooperated with John Elliott in establishing Boise Music Theatre to produce an ambitious and very grand production of Amadeus.
The latest buzz around our singing and dancing community is that Myers will be the director for the 2006 Boise Music Week production of Kiss Me Kate in the Morrison Center. Myers confirms it's true and is very enthusiastic about the project. He hopes to hold auditions in November and may start rehearsals in February. Is it mere coincidence, or is Myers bent on becoming the area's expert in the play-within-a-play technique?
He's not saying, because he is completely immersed in fine tuning the twists and turns of Private Eyes, as he hopes to make this a production audiences will remember for a long time.
Private Eyes by Steven Dietz
Directed by John Myers
At Stage Coach Theatre, in Hillcrest Plaza at Orchard and Overland, Boise
7:30 p.m. on Thursdays; 8:15 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays May 27 through June 11
Tickets $12 Fridays and Saturdays; $10 Thursdays and 2 p.m. Sunday matinee, June 5
For reservations, call 342-2000