UPDATED Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing: Delves Into Truth, Relationships and People Messing With Each Other

Editor's note: The run for The Real Thing has been extended through October 6.

Main Street Theater returns to favorite playwright Tom Stoppard (its 17th production of one of his works) with The Real Thing, a Tony Award-winning comedy (Best Play in 1984, Best Revival in 2000) set in the late 1970s/early '80s.

"His work epitomizes what we value at Main Street Theater. It's the language and the human connection. There may be three levels of intellect that go over your head but there will always be an emotional connection that you can make," says Shannon Emerick (The Coast of Utopia, Richard III) who plays Annie, an actor.

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Directed by Rebecca Greene Udden, the play within a play takes place in five different apartments, a theater rehearsal hall and a train over the space of 2-1/2 to three years as the main characters go in and out of relationships - but manage to hang on to some of the same furniture - presenting an interesting challenge for set designer Jac Jones, Ermerick says.

"This is all about people connecting with each other and messing with each other," says Emerick. She describes her character as "a free spirit but grounded in love and passion and I don't just mean romantically. She throws herself into whatever she does. Sometimes it's good; sometimes it's not."

Joe Kirkendall (Henry V, The Coast of Utopia) plays Henry, an accomplished screenwriter. According to Emerick they've been talking at Main Street for the last four years about doing The Real Thing again and finally everything lined up to make that possible.

Previews August 31, September 1 and 4, The Real Thing opens September 5 and runs through September 29 October 6 at Main Street Theater - Rice Village, 2540 Times Blvd. 7:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m. $20 - $36 (previews are $10. Call 713-524-6706 or online at MainStreetTheater.com.

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