The sexes battle it out in ‘Father’s Day’ |

The sexes battle it out in ‘Father’s Day’

(We drop in on a review discussion in progress …)

RD: As delivered by Louise, a bitter and wickedly clever divorcée, Father’s Day “was perpetrated by tie merchants.” The holiday, that is, not the play of the same name that opened last weekend at the Off Center Stage. Scathing denouncements abound, sparing no matrimonial arena: sex, divorce, children, visitation, second wives and emotionally unavailable men …

TS: Homosexuals. Did you mention homosexuals?

RD: … midgets who live upstairs, Chopin, bad gazpacho, dinner at the Pierre …

TS: Proof that while divorce is common, the details are always specific.

RD: Written in 1971 by Oliver Hailey, this play occurs on its name, and Estelle is preparing to host cocktails on her Manhattan terrace for …

TS: Let’s cut to the chase. Three couples, three divorces with children, and despite their racy banter, two of them aren’t getting any …

RD: They’re not coping well, but …

TS: Puhleease. Their men have moved on and they will never forgive them. Louise may be queen of the nasties, but the men are more interesting. Tom fled Louise’s fury then woke up one morning from a drunk to his second marriage; Richard is happily bi-sexual and promiscuous; and Harold, who left Estelle for a coed, is beginning to wonder. Not to mention that Richard still has the hots for his ex, Marian, who eagerly anticipates their next tryst …

RD: As I was saying, there’s an attempt to be candid about sex and preferences, about the many ways and means of uncoupling with and without children, and there are some poignant truths …

TS: … plus dated references to women’s liberation and left-wing politics, no mention of AIDS, of course, and about a hundred lines about fags. Really, aren’t we past that?

RD: I have to agree. We should probably mention that the cast is fairly credible. Monica McKey is notably snarky as Louise and special mention to Heino Nicolai, at ease in his first acting role as Tom.

TS: Moving on, the juiciest parts are the references to “Psychopathia Sexualis” by Krafft-Ebing (written in 1886!) and a whole class of men who get off being walked on by women with high heels. Louise has met a few, and Marian thinks she may have interrupted a session in the aisles of the A&P.

RD: Now THAT’S interesting. I’m trying to get aroused … M says maybe it’s the risk of chest puncture if she weights her heels? I’ll let you know.

TS: Puhleease.


The form of this august journal requires disclosure that Tina Sparkle and Raleigh Dunbar are noms de plume of cowardly contributors, who prefer to mask their identities to allow fair but unvarnished criticism of their peers. Sparkle is a theatrical set dresser who occasionally reviews plays. Dunbar is an occasional theater hand who has opinions about everything.


Editor’s note: “Father’s Day,” directed by Robert M. Thomas, plays through July 5 at the Off Center Stage in Grass Valley. Buy tickets through The Center for the Arts Box Office, 314 W. Main St., Grass Valley, (530) 274-8384, ext. 14, and at the door, if available; go online at

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