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Latest ACT play 'Alone Together' funny, relevant to audiences

George (played by Aaron Krumholz) visits with his wife, Helene (played by Jodi Jensen) about what they can do now that all the kids are gone during a recent rehearsal of "Alone Together" at the Pepsi-Cola Theatre in Mitchell. (Photo by Candy DenOuden/Republic)

At the outset, I must profess a certain bias for the newest Area Community Theatre offering, "Alone Together" by Lawrence Roman. This was a script that I selected to direct more than 20 years ago. At that time we were unable to cast all three of the young men's roles.

That said, I was thrilled last year to see the ACT selection committee choose this comedy and was anxious to see it produced. If the topic of young adults returning home to mom and dad's comfy nest was humorous and relevant to many in the early '90s, it is even more so today. Most everyone knows of a family who has welcomed home a former fledgling between jobs, between schools or between marriages.

Director Victoria Hansen-Hickey and assistant director Tricia Hamilton have found the right tone and pace to tell the story of the Butlers who, at the beginning, are sending their youngest of three sons off to college. Using a clever visual aid, father George (Aaron Krumholz) shows us that the sons are now farflung to Boston, Dallas and Seattle, away from their parents' Los Angeles home. Mom Helene (Jodi Jensen) is looking forward to some time "alone together" with her husband after 30 years of raising sons.

Plans and peace are soon disrupted by the return of the two oldest, one suffering a career crisis and one a broken marriage. Throw in the arrival of the youngest son's friend, an attractive young woman, and you have a recipe for mayhem. Both Dad and Mom make several attempts to empty the nest for good, but it's not until a well-choreographed fight breaks out that we determine how desperate Helene is to reclaim her home at any cost.

Krumholz and Jensen are both real-life California natives who authentically portray a middle-aged couple seeking to re-connect. Eldest Michael is played by Robert Arlt, new to the ACT stage. His frustrations with a high-profile academic career in tatters seem genuine, and his need to entomb himself in his childhood bedroom is the best antidote for his crisis. Middle son Elliott (Noah Arens) uses humor to embody