At South Coast Repertory on Friday, Oct. 23, playwright Beth Henley was in the audience for the revival of her western drama, Abundance. When she was introduced from the stage, the clapping turned to cheers that finally brought Henley to her feet to acknowledge the welcome for her and for the fiercely funny play that had its world premiere on the same stage 26 years ago.
After the show, Henley and Founding Artistic Director Martin Benson, who directed Abundance, joined theatregoers at the Cast Party, co-hosted by The Center Club.
“I’ve always loved this play and wanted to do it,” Benson said. Then, with a nod to the playwright, he added that directing Abundance was “every bit as delightful as I expected.”
Modern bluegrass music wafted through the autumn flower-filled room as First Nighters and their guests sampled all-American delicacies, including fried chicken and biscuits, and—prepared with a nod to the play—cornbread, lemon pound cake and pumpkin pie bites.
But the conversation centered on Abundance, with past SCR trustees chiming in.
“It was filled with twists and turns—just like life,” said Betty Huang.
“I really liked it, and the acting was incredible,” added Wylie Aitken.
Carl Neisser was impressed with “the juxtaposition of nature’s players.” His remark drew chuckles from his friends, but they all agreed that the characters were well defined and portrayed superbly.
Barbara Roberts summed it up. “A wonderful play, and leave it to Martin—he always comes through with a great production.”
Having trouble viewing the slideshow? Try watching it here.