When he was a kid, Jonathan Gonzalez didn't much like British playwright Alan Ayckbourn. "I found him really stuffy."
But, "as I mature, I realize how brilliant he is in the way he mixes farce and comedy and human behavior," Gonzalez adds. And in My Wonderful Day, the Ayckbourn play Gonzalez is directing at Main Street Theater, audiences will find some of the best of the writer's work, Gonzalez says.
Ayckbourn became a master at "making the mundane interesting," Gonzalez says. In this play a nine-year-old girl, Winnie (played by adult actress Brittny Bush), accompanies her mother to her housecleaning job one day. Laverne cleans for a "minor British television personality" who is probably not quite as successful as his wife and who doesn't like children. And he has a mistress. And a friend with a bad hangover.
The girl has to sit on the couch writing about her day. "And then all these shenanigans are happening around the house. He's sneaking his mistress around. It's not a child-friendly group of people," Gonzalez says.
"This play has this child watching all of these inappropriate things going on," he says.
Gonzalez works for the education department of Main Street Theater. Executive Artistic Director Rebecca Udden saw him direct a play and asked him to take this one on. He thinks My Wonderful Day -- a one-act that runs about an hour and 40 minutes -- is "a good gateway" into Ayckbourn's work.
"It'll appeal to people who enjoy comedy. It's just interesting. Anyone who's ever felt lonely or had issues with their childhood will like this. It deals with the middle class, but it's very universal.
"Everyone in the play is really a child," he says. "The child is the only grownup. "
Gonzalez says Ayckbourn has described this as one of his most autobiographical plays. "He was raised by his mom; he got to be privy to these conversations when he was a kid. Kids are just little recording devices. They pick up everything."
Performances of My Wonderful Day run May 24 through June 17 at Main Street Theater's Rice Village location, 2540 Times Blvd. For ticket information, call 713-524-6706 or go to the theater's Web site.
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