The tender trap
We see it in the movies, read about it in sappy novels and sometimes we even spend hours on end fantasizing about it. Its influence has been present since time immemorial, has caused the rise and fall of nations and empires and has been sought after by billions. We seek it, pray for it, kill for it, sacrifice and change for it, and when we find it, we go to whatever lengths it takes to defend it. In rare instances, we also write and perform sidesplitting, tear-jerking and soul-stirring theatrical plays about it. It is, of course, the most used four-letter word of all time: love.
The rocky road to love in Fortune’s Fools is a snappy, quick-witted and quirky look at modern love and marriage. As Chuck and Gail stumble through the ritual absurdities of a wedding and the stark realities of marriage, sparks fly whenever their best friends, Bonnie and Jay, meet. As the wedding draws closer, their friends’ forced togetherness yields an escalating series of verbal skirmishes, mutual frustration and undeniable sexual attraction.
Fortune’s Fools, presented for a second time by Synergy Stage in conjunction with the Delta King Theatre, stars Synergy Stage founding members Stephanie Gularte, David Harris, Peter Mohrmann and well-known Sacramento actress Lynn Baker. The production, written by Frederick Stroppel, is directed by fellow Synergy cofounder, Jerry R. Montoya, well-known for his work with the Lambda Players, STC, and an impressive recent production of Kiss of the Spider Woman at the Thistle Dew Theatre.
Gularte tackles the lead character of Bonnie Sparks, a savvy modern woman and actress who has it all: brains, beauty, talent—and you better not forget it, mister! Gularte is no stranger to Delta King audiences, most recently appearing in A Texas Romance, Turn of the Screw and the well-received Bite Me, Cleopatra. Fresh from the recent River Stage production How I Learned to Drive, Gularte remains one of Sacramento’s strongest leading actresses.
Harris reprises his role as the scruffy, wisecracking misogynist Jay Morrison, whose “perfect-love or bust” attitude is challenged when he meets Gularte’s character. Harris has no lack of acting and directing credits, having taken part in a number of Synergy Stage productions: Voice of the Prairie, A Christmas Carol and Crimes of the Heart. He has also worked three seasons as the production manager for the Sacramento Shakespeare Festival.
Mohrmann takes the role of Chuck, the slightly uncouth, but nonetheless lovable representation of the average man, and is about to be married to Gail, the most perfect woman in the world: “Perfect? Don’t get me started.” Mohrmann may be most recognizable from his recent roles in Synergy Stage’s recent productions of Waking and Voice of the Prairie, he may never be recognized for his Elly-nominated performance as Lady Bracknell in City Theater’s production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
Lynn Baker rounds out the cast as the controlling, high-strung bride-to-be, Gail. Baker is a familiar face at most Sacramento theater companies including the B Street Theatre, STC and the Thistle Dew Dessert Theater. Baker manages to bring her usual flair to a part that could be easily lost in the production if underplayed.
Romantic comedies in any genre and medium are a dime a dozen. But once in a blue moon, you stumble on a story that trips across your heartstrings and paints a perm-a-grin smile to your face. Such is the case with this production of Fortune’s Fools.