A college poetry professor named Ty who impregnates three women in one week is the subject of the play “All This Intimacy.” Written by Rajiv Joseph and featuring professional actors, the show opens today and runs to Nov. 18 at the Cultural Arts Center of Montgomery College in Silver Spring.
Joseph also wrote the comedy “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo,” recently presented by the Round House Theatre in Bethesda.
In “All This Intimacy,” actress Emily Thompson of Chevy Chase plays the part of 18-year-old Becca, one of Ty’s students.
“The play ask questions about morality and religion, but it’s funny and entertaining at the same time,” says Thompson, who describes the production as a dramedy.
“[Ty] makes this huge mess, and the audience can see it building as the show goes on,” she says.
The other two women in the play made pregnant by Ty are Jen, his ex-girlfriend, played by Natalie Cutcher, and Maureen, his married next-door neighbor, played by Amy Hard.
Another character in the play is Franny, Seth’s fiancee and Jen’s sister.
“The audience is watching this mess and watching it come to a head, but it doesn’t necessarily have a happy ending,” Thompson says.
As an actress, Thompson says she likes the way Joseph writes dialogue.
“It’s the way they really speak,” she says. “It’s the way I used to speak in college.”
Ty, played by Sean Coe, and Becca don’t know each other well, says Thompson, “but they end up in this situation with a lot to talk about.”
The wording also belies a world of underlying emotions for the actors to plumb and incorporate into their performances.
“There’s a tremendous amount of subtext,” Thompson says. “Sometimes it’s hard to say what you think and feel, so you say something else.”
Actor Brandon Mitchell of Silver Spring plays Ty’s best friend Seth.
Acting as Ty’s conscience, Seth is also there to support his friend, no matter how Ty decides to handle the situation.
“[Ty’s] attitude does change, as he desperately searches to find the answer as to why he acts the way he does,” Mitchell says.
Like Joseph, Mitchell says he, too, appreciates Thompson’s dialogue.
Shakespeare’s plays, for example, use a heightened language and require the actors to move along relatively quickly through the dialogue, he says.
“With Shakespeare, you just go and do the lines,” he says.
But with this play and its realistic sounding speech, there is room for an actor to pause in places.
“The play gives you the time,” Mitchell.
“The play is so good at capturing everyday language and tone,” he says. “I’m having fun with the language and playing around with the script.”