Wichita Community Theatre’s newest production, “Bloomsday,” checks all the boxes for director Jessica Fisher.
“It’s a romantic comedy, but it has some depth to it, a little darkness to it sometimes. It’s a romantic dramedy,” Fisher said of the play, which continues through April 28. “I was kind of attracted to it because it kind of has magical romantic-ness, tinged with some sadness and some regret. All my favorite things.”
Named for an annual celebration of author James Joyce in Dublin, “Bloomsday” time travels back and forth between the first meeting of Caithleen (played by Julia Miller) and Robbie (Mark Barlow), who become enamored with each other after a Joyce literary tour; and their reunion 35 years later, where they are now known as Cait (Theresa Dombrowski) and Robert (Cameron Carlson).
“Everything is centered around those two moments in time,” Carlson said. “There’s a whole 35 years of reflection that go into the second meeting. It’s a very wonderful story in terms of building those relationships out.”
Since Miller and Dumbrowski, Barlow and Carlson have to be different generations of the other, much time was spent studying the other person and coming to a happy medium on issues such as the Irish accent that Caithleen/Cait has to employ.
“There’s a lot of listening to each other talk, because we don’t have similar speech patterns at all, in the slightest, in our actual speaking,” Miller said.
The trickiest part for the cast of four to navigate was the dominant hand – for both the women and the men, one generation was right-handed and the other a lefty.
“I’m kind of ambidextrous, so I’m just practicing things with both hands and not favoring one over the other,” Miller said.
Despite the James Joyce theme in the title and the play, the cast and director said audience members don’t have to know much about the Irish author to appreciate “Bloomsday.”
“I intentionally avoided it, since my character knows nothing about it,” Barlow said.
“I think they might have a slightly deeper experience if they did, but they don’t have to know anything to enjoy it,” Fisher said.
The casting of the four runs parallel with the script, the actors say.
Carlson and Dombrowski have known each other for years, through murder-mystery theater companies and improv troupes. “We added it up,” Carlson said. “We’ve been married once and interested in each other for five times.”
Barlow and Miller are both new to Wichita Community Theater, and only met at auditions.
Barlow has moved back to Wichita after 10 years of living in Missouri and Lawrence. Miller is trying her first community theater role, branching out from her day job of directing choirs at Andover middle and high schools.
Miller said she admires the work of her veteran colleagues.
“They have this chemistry and it’s a blast,” she said.
When: 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, through April 28
Where: Wichita Community Theatre, 258 N. Fountain
Tickets: $15 adults, $13 for students, military and seniors (60 and older), by calling 316-686-1282