CORRECTION: Marcel Jeannin will play the role of Charlie, not Spencer Moses.
ALBANY — Steve Peterson’s “Paris Time” has little to do with romance in spring.
“This play is about what is taking place in France right now,” said Gordon Greenberg, of the play that will world premier at the Capital Repertory Theatre on Friday, Jan. 26. What he is referring to is a burgeoning shift of conservative nationalism, not unlike what we’ve seen here in the United States. “Our news here, in the U.S., is more colloquial, so we generally don’t see it. But it was brought home to us in August, with the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va. We, too, in America, are leaning towards a frightening racial conservatism; and people who don’t believe in anything will be stoking that for personal gain.”
Protagonists Charlie and Deborah, played by Spencer Moses and Kelly Wolf are American expatriates living in the posh neighborhood of Paris’ 16th Arrondissement on his salary as a consultant for a major U.S.-based firm with global concerns. She finds purpose with a human rights organization exposing French anti-Semitism. When a brick, believed to be thrown by a Muslim, goes through the glass on a Jewish employee’s car, Deborah social activism puts Charlie at risk of losing his job.
“At heart, it’s a play about a marriage in peril,” said Peterson, adding that it’s a whodunit-thriller with a romantic edge. ”Charlie and Deborah are blindsided by current events.”
The incident calls for Martin, the CEO of Charlie’s firm, to visit France in an effort to quell the news. Played by Wally Dunn, his eagerness to settle the situation only makes things worse.
“It’s a weird time,” said Dunn, of the social climate that appears to have shifted towards a more conservative and xenophobic nature in recent years. The veteran actor of stage, television and film is often found playing more light-hearted roles than the one being asked of him in “Paris Time.” Greenburg offered him the role, and Dunn said he was immediately drawn towards Peterson’s writing.
“It’s great when you have dialogue that just rolls off the tongue,” said Dunn.
“Paris Time” will have its world premiere at Capital Repertory Theatre, from Friday, Jan. 26 to Wednesday, Feb. 18. Its premiere comes to theREP through the company’s Next Act: New Play Summit, a playwriting contest, which, in collaboration with Proctors, puts new work on the North Pearl Street MainStage each season.
For tickets and information, call tickets by Proctors, (518) 445-7469, or visit capitalrep.org.
Michael Hallisey is managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers.