John and Mary meet when they are both 11. He has no use for girls, nor she for boys.
Still, she stole a kiss on that first meeting in the woods by John's secret hiding place. An innocent kiss, but a lip smacker nonetheless.
So begins "First Kisses," Invisible Theatre's current offering.
It follows John and Mary, played by married couple Harold and Maedell Dixon, over the course of 61 years. They grow up, grow apart, grow back together and always offer each other comfort and deep friendship. In that time there are a lot more kisses, marriage, temptations, a few children, and a grandchild.
"First Kisses" has plenty of funny lines, but this Gail Fitzhugh-directed production seems less interested in the comedy and more interested in applying a gauze of sentimentality.
Too bad. Laughs are badly needed.
At Wednesday's opening, the Dixons zipped through the years and the lines without a great sense of connection or humor. The result is a play that seems to wander through time without any tension, arc or point.
To be fair, this isn't a stellar script to begin with. Playwright Jay D. Hanagan gives us a series of short scenes, each covering a different age, different stage, in the characters' lives. These isolated moments have little context, so it's difficult to care about either of the characters.
The Dixons are both accomplished actors. They deftly handled the transitions that fall between the preteen and the post-70 years.
But a lack of subtext combined with a script without much depth leaves one with the feeling that these were not years well-lived.
• What: Invisible Theatre's production of "First Kisses."
• Playwright: Jay D. Hanagan.
• Director: Gail Fitzhugh.
• When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and 3 p.m. Sundays, through March 3.
• Where: Invisible Theatre, 1400 N. First Ave.
• Cost: $28. Half-price rush tickets are available a half-hour before curtain, when available.
• Reservations, information: 882-9721.
• Running time: 2 hours, with one intermission.
Contact reporter Kathleen Allen at email@example.com or 573-4128.