“When I got the rights to do this play from the Dramatists Guild, they said I couldn’t change a single line,” Pendulum Theatre Company artistic director Holly Vogt Wilkison says of Ted Tally’s 1978 play Hooters. Considering that, amongst other dated references and slang terms, one character hits on a woman by bragging about his role in a Paul Newman movie, such strict adherence to the text means a full-on ‘70s production. The show will feature blaring disco, bell-bottoms and one poor actress subjected to a Farrah Fawcett haircut.

And there’s something distinctly of the era about the plot of Hooters, named before the founding of the world’s most embarrassing workplace. Two 19-year-olds vacationing on Cape Cod attempt to get a hard-partying 25-year-old, sour in the face of her upcoming wedding, into bed, bypassing her bookish friend. It’s a post-sexual revolution, mid-feminism, pre-AIDS scenario.

Vogt Wilkison says there’s more to the play than bad hair and worse pickup lines. She was introduced to it as a drama student at Syracuse University, where it was used for “scene study,” in which actors had to convey subtext. “It looks like a play about sex,” she says. “But it’s really about friendship and loyalty and changes. You have to get that from the actors.”

So what’s with the title? “At one point, the two guys are talking about the girl, the ‘ten,’ and one of them says, ‘Did you see her headlights?’” explains Vogt Wilkison. “‘Headlights?’ the other asks. ‘Do you mean her hooters?’” We salute any actor who can say that with a straight face, let alone do it while conveying subtext.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sat., June 23


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