Originally by playwright Neil Simon, Barefoot in the Park is put on Frostburg’s stage by Director Dustin Shaffer. It is the story of Paul and Corie Bratter, newlyweds who’ve moved into a dilapidated apartment in New York City. Corie and Paul have a strange neighbor, Victor Velasco, who they quickly become friends with. Corie attempts to set her mother up with Velasco. Through the first events of their new marriage, the “stuffed-shirt”, stiff Paul and easy-going Corie discover their mismatched personalities. Chaos ensues. Can things be reconciled?
Corie Bratter is played by Haley Schott. Schott is a senior Theatre major at Frostburg State.
Paul Bratter is played by Fred Ramsey. Ramsey is a senior Liberal Studies major focusing in Theatre, Sociology, and African American Studies.
Seats in the theatre were full of people eagerly awaiting the start of the play. Usher Erin Hickey says, “We’re getting a good amount of people and everyone seems to like it. I love it; I’ve seen it a bunch of times.”
Music from the period in which the play took place, the 1960’s, played in the background of the theatre before the play and during intermission. Many adults couldn’t help but sing along. Throughout the play, laughter could be heard in response to nearly endless comedic parts. At the end of the play, the audience appeared thoroughly entertained.
While many enjoyed the play for its humor, some were left feeling slightly disappointed. Zharde Todman, a Theater major, stated that she had to read the book version of the play for a class. While she enjoyed the play, she said, “I thought, ‘Oh I wanted it to be this way or that way.’” Todman notes that the main characters Corie and Paul Bratter were not originally an interracial couple, as they were in Frostburg’s version. “I thought they could have played up where the couple was interracial,” she says. She also points out that they change aspects of the play, such as adding in certain lines like “Ain’t nobody got time for that”, said by Paul Bratter. If they are going to do this, she believes, they might as well more clearly define the interracial aspect. “If I were blind I wouldn’t have known they were interracial,” she says. She also felt unhappy with places where the set forced the audience to imagine certain aspects, such as a hole in the ceiling or snow falling. Adding this to the set would have bettered the quality of the production, she felt. Overall, however, Todman found the play humorous and was pleased with the performance.
Overall, Barefoot in the Park succeeded to entertain. Martha Thompson seemed to speak for the majority of the audience’s response by saying, “I thought it was hysterical; very well performed, very well prepared.”