Private Lives at the Public Theater

As most of you know by now, I work at the Public Theater, also known as the O'Reilly Theater, in downtown Pittsburgh and one of its perks is to be able to see all of their shows for free. Currently, Noel Coward's Private Lives is wrapping up this season at the theater and it is quite the show to see. (And if you keep reading, you can win the chance to see this one for free...just like I did!)

Private Lives runs at the Public until June 24th.
Private Lives, which takes place in France, happens while two couples are honeymooning. Imagine a romantic evening on a beautiful terrace, overlooking a gorgeous view of the beach. Now imagine that moment while your terrace is connected to your ex-wife/husband's terrace. That's where this show begins...so I'm sure you can also imagine the hilariousness that happens from there. While Sibyl and Elyot Chase have just wed, so have Amanda and Victor Prynne. However, it hasn't been too long since Elyot and Amanda were once married to each other and in an unfortunate chain of events, end up honeymooning with their new spouses, right next to each other.

To bring this "RED HOT" season to an end, Ted Pappas, the Public's Producing Artistic Director, has taken on the role of director for the third time this season and has truly brought this show to life. And I'm sure you know by now that I cannot talk about a Public Theater show without raving about how fabulous I think the set is. I feel like the Scenic Designers at the theater keep trying to one-up each other with each show, because they are always so gorgeous, but James Noone will remain the winner in that category since it's the last show of the season. Also, there's a revolving stage included in this show, so that's pretty much the trump card. However, I'm sure you all also know that I'm obsessed with clothing so of course the costumes are always the most interesting part of a show to me and this one is no different. Andrew B. Marlay did a beautiful job with this show and has mimicked the time period of the '30's flawlessly.

Amanda and Elyot first realizing the other is there. CityPaper photo.
Now to be honest, the show itself is not what I would consider my style of theater because there are a lot of easy jokes that keep the tone light hearted and upbeat, but seems too obvious for me to find too much excitement in. Also, there is a good bit of domestic violence that to me wasn't really funny, but was played off decently well in the script to keep it from getting too serious. There is also one point during the second act when I got bored simply because Amanda and Elyot are the only two on stage and it feels like you're the third wheel on their date. I'm sure you know how it is when you're out with a couple who have clearly been together for so long that they have too many inside jokes, but haven't been together long enough to realize that they're being obnoxiously cutesy. That's how Act II felt to me. However, that's a beef I have with Noel Coward and not the actors on stage and considering how infamous Coward is in the theater world, I think that's one battle I'll just admit to lose.

Overall, the five actors cast in this show were each the perfect pick for their roles. Their acting was clean and easy and felt like they didn't even have to try. Victoria Mack (Amanda) and Michael Brusasco (Elyot) were fabulous as two people who are very use to getting everything they want and who will stop at nothing to win a fight and Laird Mackintosh (Victor) and Amanda Leigh Cobb (Sibyl) were flawless as two lonesome lovers, who whine their way out of fights, while Elena Alexandratos (Louise, Amanda's housekeeper) does amazing work as someone who doesn't speak a word of English and refuses to put up with any one's shit. Great cast!

Of course, like I always say, no matter what my opinion is, you should check out this show for yourself.  And I'd like to give you a great opportunity to do so! This is the first ever contest on Chels & the City, so we'll see how it goes - but I have TWO TICKETS to see Private Lives at the Public Theater so you can judge the show for yourself! All you have to do is successfully be the first one to answer the question below and you and your guest can see the show for free next week - on whichever date works best for you. For. Free.

CONTEST QUESTION: Chels & the City is a play on words for one of my favorite TV shows, Sex and the City...SO...Which Sex and the City star once portrayed the role of Amanda in Private Lives?

Leave your response of the actress' real name, not who she portrays in Sex and the City, as a comment! Good luck, readers!


I love you for leaving a comment and do my best to reply to each one! I no longer accept anonymous commenting because of the amount of spam I was getting - I hope this isn't a problem for you. Thanks for checking out my blog :)

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