RIT presents dark comedy on family dysfunction

‘The Marriage of Bette and Boo,’ written by Christopher Durang, set for April 10–13

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RIT’s production of The Marriage of Bette and Boo takes place at NTID’s Panara Theatre at 8 p.m. April 10–12, and at 2 p.m. April 13.

Rochester Institute of Technology’s Department of Performing Arts and Visual Culture presents The Marriage of Bette and Boo, written by Christopher Durang, at 8 p.m. April 10–12, and at 2 p.m. April 13, at Panara Theatre, Lyndon Baines Johnson Hall, National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

Directed by David Munnell, visiting assistant professor in the College of Liberal Arts, this production employs an ethnically diverse cast of RIT students alongside a team of American Sign Language (ASL) performers who will be simultaneously signing for deaf and hard-of-hearing audience members.

The story itself spans three decades—from the 1940s to the late 1970s—and examines the troubled marriage of Bette Brennan, a vivacious and strong-willed woman, and Boo Hudlocke, her hapless and alcoholic husband, as told in a series of flashbacks by their only son, Matt. Viewing the process from the narrator’s perspective, the audience will witness Matt and his family’s struggles with disillusionment, isolation, guilt, rage, illness, and death in ways that are both heartbreakingly horrible and horribly funny.

“There are few American playwrights who can elicit laughter and sympathy the way that writer Christopher Durang can,” said Munnell. “It is not uncommon for audiences to find themselves holding back tears after two hours of unrelenting and unapologetic laughter. As funny as the play is, Durang never lets us lose our respect for the integrity and fundamental humanity of people whose roadmaps for life are woefully inaccurate for the shifting landscapes and landmarks we all try to navigate. It is a theme as relevant today as it was in post-war America.

“For anyone interested in the misguided myths of marriage and how redemption can be found in the ashes of family dysfunction and personal despair, this brilliant comedy is not to be missed,” he added.

Tickets—$5 for students and $10 for the general public—are for sale at the RIT Gordon Field House Box Office or online at www.rittickets.com/online. Call 585-475-4121 for more information.