This Pulitzer Prize winner from 14 years ago receives an updated production, but the underlying themes are ones that millions of unhappily wed couples will find painfully familiar. They regularly have their best friends, Beth Heather Burns and Tom Darren Pettie , over for double-date dinner parties. Karen and Gabe are real foodies. One night, as Karen and Gabe are regaling Beth who this night is oddly solo with details of their recent trip to Italy, Beth breaks down into tears: Tom is leaving her for another woman. The marriage, it seems, is beyond saving.

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Gabe and Karen, expecting the other couple for a dinner party , receive only Beth, who initially states Tom is away for business.

As the dinner winds down, Beth tearfully admits Tom is leaving her for a flight attendant actually a travel agent as he is not happy in their marriage. Beth paints Tom as solely wanting sex from her, pointing to an incident at a movie theatre where he attempted to initiate intercourse. During this, Gabe and Karen demonstrate different approaches to the news, with Karen prompting questions out of Beth while Gabe simply listened.

After Beth leaves, Gabe and Karen discuss the news, with Karen immediately taking it at face value and disparaging Tom while Gabe defends him. Karen declares he is no longer her friend. Gabe takes offence to learning that should he cheat on Karen she would immediately write him off and throw him out. Tom arrives home after his flight is cancelled. He deems this unfair as they are now biased against him.

Their argument escalates as they begin attacking one another and Tom pins her to the bed. However, they begin to make passionate love to one another.

Gabe fixes Tom a plate of the earlier meal, and asks Tom to explain things. He explains how he feels unloved now with Beth, how she rejects any form of intimacy. This led Tom to seek this out in the travel agent. Gabe asks them if he and Beth planned to attend therapy together, not wanting them to end their marriage. Tom then departs. Tom has maintained a relationship with the travel agent, named Nancy, and Beth is now seeing someone as well, named David. Beth disputes this, and then states she intends to marry David.

She then accuses Karen of not wanting her to be truly happy so she can be superior to her. Tom asserts that he was unhappy during the duration of his marriage and that most of the time he was putting on a show of happiness so as to not cause a problem. He then explains to Tom how he had hoped that they would share the experience of growing old together in their marriages and that leaving Beth spoiled that. As they are parting ways, Tom reveals to Gabe that Beth and David actually had an affair much earlier in their marriage.

Karen shares a dream she had of her and Gabe making love next to another couple, who are also them. She kisses him back.


StageAgent Distance Learning Hub

January 1, Nicole Well written but a bit old hat, even for something that is now almost two decades old, I feel like there are better takes on this subject, but this is still a good one. This play falls clumsily somewhere between these two camps. Couple A is comprised of Gabe and Karen, food writers with a cliche penchant for infusing their quirks and isms with their careers——tasting here, notating there--perfectly content in their little marital bubble. Then there are Tom and Beth, in the process of divorcing; two people so strung-out, so inconceivable, so insufferably annoying that no one in their right mind would ever associate with them long-term in real life. It is opaquely revealed that Beth had a fling of her own some ten years prior during her marriage to Tom.


Dinner With Friends

The comedy features plenty of humorous moments, but behind the wit lie more serious themes — questions about commitment, fidelity, love and the very meaning of relationships. Well off and possessing exquisite taste and reasonable talent, they inhabit a world in which finding an ideal Italian tomato is a matter of prime importance. They have their tense moments, of course, but they are a loving, mutually respectful pair. Scott Cunningham are ending their marriage, Karen and Gabe are shocked, to say nothing of appalled. More importantly, both she and Gabe feel a creeping insecurity, wondering if perhaps their fail-safe marriage may also be susceptible to such shocks.


Donald Margulies

The opening sequence shifts from the offices of Gourmet magazine to the home of food writers Gabe Dennis Quaid and Karen Andie MacDowell , who, having just returned from a trip to Italy, prepare dinner for their best friends. In this case, only Beth Toni Collette shows up, along with her children, and while at first she makes excuses for husband Tom Greg Kinnear , she soon breaks down in tears and confesses Tom has left her for another woman. Later that night, Gabe and Karen mull over the shock of this revelation, while Tom comes home from an aborted trip to find that Beth has established what he considers an unfair advantage by spilling the beans. This scene sets up once and for all that this work is not about narrative drive so much as the fleshing out of the characters and relationships. Cinematographer Roger Deakins gives this extended sequence the sepia tones of an old photograph, and drenches much of it in bright light to enhance both its beach setting and the sense of innocent joy that comes with newfound love.


Dinner With Friends


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