Arts & Entertainment

Real Couples Act Out Marital Drama in Providence Players’ ‘The Parking Lot’

By Mark Dreisonstok

BETH GILES-WHITEHEAD and her real (and stage) husband, David Whitehead, act out a scene in “The Parking Lot,” by Providence Players of Fairfax. (Photo: Courtesy Chip Gerzog/Providence Players)

While many theaters have been obliged to shut their doors during the pandemic, Providence Players of Fairfax has taken on the creative challenge of continuing theater productions with streaming short productions online and now live with “The Parking Lot,” debuting under the stars on Thursday evening at the Italian Café in Falls Church.

In the production, art imitates life as the socially distanced performance will be performed outdoors in a parking lot involving a married couple’s interaction in a parking lot at which audience members must bring their own chairs. In a similar instance of verisimilitude, the production features a married couple, Jayne L. Victor and Michael Donahue, directing a married couple — actor David P. Whitehead and actress Beth Gilles-Whitehead. Both performers have acted in notable Providence Players productions before: David in “The Front Page”and Beth in “Auntie Mame.”

The play, written by Adam Szymkowicz and set during the coronavirus pandemic, is billed as “a comedy about married life” for a married couple. In lieu of navigating the ups and downs of marriage in private or in marital counseling, the couple makes use of a parking lot as their setting to discuss whether or not they should consider a divorce. To add to the fun, the performances will be fully interactive experiences, with audience participation to help spice up the play with occasional votes.

Providence Players’ new offering will be presented Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights at 7 p.m. on the two weekends of May 13 – 15 as well as May 20 – 22. Doors will open at 6 p.m. with live music beginning at 7 p.m.

There will be a full lineup of musical guests beginning with Michael Clem of the band Eddie from Ohio on opening night and then a myriad of diverse performers associated with the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation and the organizers of its annual music festival.

These other musical guests include Anthony “Swampdog” Clark, Flo Anito, Eric Scotti, Calista Garcia, and Carla Harvey. The productions will end at approximately 9:10 p.m. each night. This will be Providence Players’ second parking lot production at the Italian Café. In the case of inclement weather, rain dates will be announced. Please check the Providence Players website for updates.