Play showcases Valentine’s Day with a twist

The idea of a blind date means different things to different people, for good and bad. The Covey Center’s upcoming production “Blind Date” highlights the good, the bad and the ugly of what a blind date can be.

“Blind Date” is a compilation of four short plays with the same title, but unique stories, all inspired by the late Horton Foote’s original work.

Scott Bronson, artistic director for the Covey Center theater, read Foote’s play and was inspired to recreate the work for this Valentine season. He said he wanted to produce a show of the lovey-dovey nature, and was instantly drawn to Foote’s “Blind Date.” Bronson recruited his friends and fellow playwrights Melissa Lelaini Larson and Eric Samuelson to write blind date-inspired short stories.

[media-credit name=”Photos courtesy of Shalmai Littleford.” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]
The performance of “Blind Date” by Horton Foote stars Aubrey Reynolds and Jacob Swain.
“I read Horton Foote’s play and I thought, ‘I want to do that,'” Bronson said. “But it’s not enough for the whole evening. So I thought I’d ask my friends to write some. They are two of the best playwrights I know.”

Bronson, Larson and Samuelson each wrote 15-20 minute plays to accompany the performance of the original “Blind Date” by Foote. Each play tells a different story with unique characters and circumstances, all themed around blind dates.

“The play I wrote is actually based somewhat on an event while I was at school at BYU,” Bronson said. “My roommates and I and a few other guys had this little paramilitary called the Date Liberation Organization. We ‘kidnapped’ a girl who was scheduled to go on a date with a guy who was an idiot. She didn’t want to go out with him, so we kidnapped her and she never had to go out with him.”

After the initial kidnapping, Bronson and his friends continued their Date Liberation Organization by liberating people out of boredom. And in his play, the characters kidnap the wrong girl.

Melissa Larson’s play is also a dating story with a twist.

“The fun thing about the Horton Foote play is that it’s not a traditional romance,” she said. “The title is ‘Blind Date,’ but none of them are traditional dates. It’s four plays about dating, but they are all a little wonky.”

The stories of “Blind Date” aren’t everyday romantic comedies; they are quirky tales of blind dates gone wrong.

“I don’t want to give it away, but each play is about the beginning of a relationship and explores the awkwardness,” Larson said. “What I think is fun about the play is that it’s not traditional romantic comedies. The only thing they have in common with other romantic comedies is that they’re all boy-meets-girl.”

Larson said she was intimidated to work alongside Foote’s original play, but she created a story that corresponds with Foote’s work.

“Foote’s works are fun to read and fun to see,” she said. “He’s amazing. It was intimidating and I had to not let myself think about that too much. I didn’t want it to be too much like Horton, but have the flavor of my work. Thematically, I think it matches Horton and Eric and Scott’s works.”

Larson’s play is about a computer programmer and his mail order bride’s first encounter. She said the computer programmer is a sweet guy, but terribly awkward, which is why he ordered his bride via the worldwide web.

Samuelson said the idea of “Blind Date” is to take the concept of dating in different directions.

“The focus is that dating can be a disaster,” he said. “One thing we’ve done is cast terrible blind date and dating experiences. Everyone has one — a story where things just go catastrophically wrong. I hope that everyone in the audience is having a better date than the ones in our plays.”

“Blind Date” is playing at the Covey Center Feb. 9-11, 14, 16-18 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $12.

Tickets can be ordered online at coveycenter.org or at the Covey Center box office.

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