"My life is a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle I have to put together while wearing mittens" is one of the off-beat lines that powers "How I Paid for College," by Helen Hayes Award-winning playwright Marc Acito. The premiere play opens Friday, Dec. 7, at the ever-adventurous Hub Theater in Fairfax.
Acito has taken his 2004 Ken Kesey Award for Fiction-winning farce of a coming-of-age novel, "How I Paid for College,” and turned it into a one actor, 20 character, fast-paced, musical comedy production.
The story line is about mundane life in a New Jersey suburb. Or is it? A seemingly carefree teen, named Edward Zanni (Alex Brightman), is struggling with what to do next with his life. His newly remarried father does not share his son's enthusiasm for life in the theater.
With some good buddies, the teen contrives a break-neck plan requiring disguises galore, schemes to test the most fertile imagination and even a little blackmail. Along the way he interacts with any number of colorful characters. Without giving anything away—some quite valuable, unexpected lessons are learned.
"I have long looked for a show about the time in life when our kids go away to school," said Pafumi. "It's an exciting and terrifying time for both parents and their children. And it’s a life change that so many in our community go through."
"How I Paid for College" combines "hilarity with moments of weight and relevance. The combination makes for a play that will keep us laughing without losing the importance of this journey into adulthood," said Pafumi.
The Hub used a nation-wide search to find and cast Brightman. "He has natural charm and sweetness, some wicked comic chops, is extremely strong at character work, and has a beautiful voice."
The production includes original music and lyrics by playwright Acito. Matt Neilson is the sound designer. Together they developed something "playful and outrageous," said Pafumi.
Where and When
"How I Paid for College" produced by the Hub Theater at the John Swayze Theatre, The New School of Northern Virginia, 9431 Silver King Road, Fairfax. Performances Dec. 7-30, 2012. Friday & Saturday evenings 8 p.m., Saturday & Sunday matinees 2 p.m., and Sunday evenings 7 p.m. Tickets: $15-$30. Call 800-494-8497 or visit www.thehubtheatre.... Note: for ages 13 and up.
For inspiration, Acito noted, "like my alter ego, Edward Zanni, I battled with my father over majoring in theatre. Unlike my character, I didn't turn to a life of crime to pay for it... the play feels like a guided tour of the pinball machine that is my brain."
"A one-man show is not something that comes along all the time. It is a rare opportunity to showcase everything you have with no safety net... it's all adrenaline and it's all ‘go!’” said Brightman.