Love, Loss and Laughter

"The Affections of May" on stage in Westerly


Small towns have their charms, but not for Brian Henning. The errant husband in Norm Foster’s The Affections of May can’t get back to the big city fast enough. He misses the anonymity of urban living, and hates the rural place where his wife has chosen to open a bed and breakfast. As he gripes of the locals, “These people stop and talk to you, only they’ve got nothing to talk about. The weather. How many times a day can you talk about the damned weather?”

Plenty, as it turns out. But for Brian’s wife May, that’s part of the appeal of Grogan’s Cove – a tight-knit community similar to the Grover’s Corners of Our Town. So she stays, even after her husband takes off, and tries to make a go of it. It’s unclear which aspect of her new life will prove more challenging - running an inn in a sleepy village without many tourists, or remaining single in a sleepy village without many single women.

Watch May’s story unfold at the Granite Theatre of Westerly from April 13-May 6. Produced by Renaissance City Theatre, Inc. and directed by Brian Olsen, the play is an entertaining tale about embracing change – and each other. The characters deal with tough issues: breaking up, moving on, re-learning how to trust, regaining self-confidence. But thanks to a comic script by contemporary Canadian playwright Foster, the show never takes itself too seriously. The jokes range from practically slapstick to downright dirty, and they keep rolling in right up to the last minute.

Lorie Olsen of Westerly, in her theatrical debut, stars as May. Director Olsen (no relation) reports that this talented newcomer nailed the audition to nab her first part, and now will be seen onstage for almost the entire duration of the play. Frank Pendola of Westerly plays her heel of a hubby, while Wakefield resident David LaRocque tackles the role of a new love interest named Quinn.

In The Affections of May, Brian Henning’s loss is Grogan’s Cove’s gain. Of course, most South County residents already know that he picked the wrong side in the small town versus big city debate. After all, who doesn’t prefer friendly faces, weather talk and hunky handymen?