Delectable theater insider jokes at NCTC


“It’s Only a Play” is set for run at the New Conservatory Theatre Center. Photo: Lois Tema, New Conservatory Theatre Center

If you have even an iota of a theater person somewhere inside you, you’ll gravitate to the jokes in Terrence McNally’s “It’s Only a Play” as if they’re catnip. One character describes himself as “an actor-slash-singer-slash-dancer-slash-comedian-slash-performance artist-slash-mime.” Another describes his younger self as one of a pair of “hungry young theater wannabes suckling at the fecund breast of the not-for-profits.”

The comedy, now in a New Conservatory Theatre Center regional premiere, is set on the opening night of a new play by Peter (Chris Morrell). The curtain’s come down, the actors have taken their bows, and now everyone’s gathered at the town house of producer Julia (Melissa Keith) to wait for reviews to come in. Initially, the outlook doesn’t look good; in a moment of candor, Peter’s best friend, James (P.A. Cooley), confides, “Darling, what is your traditional Thanksgiving dinner? Well, this one is a 300-pound Butterball.”

— Lily Janiak

“It’s Only a Play”: 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, March 15-17; 2 p.m. Sunday, March 18. Through April 1. $25-$50. New Conservatory Theatre Center, Lower Lobby, 25 Van Ness Ave., S.F. (415) 861-8972.


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