Livermore resident Bob Cowgill, who plays Jake, has been working on learning more than 600 lines, speaking to real and imagined women, as well as directly to the audience. He never leaves the stage.
"This is the most challenging role in my career. It's also one of the most fun roles," Cowgill said. "I feel like Jake and I are the same, as I have conversations in my head all the time."
The seven women are played by Lesleyann Coker as Jake's current wife, Maggie; Lea Blevins as his deceased wife, Julie; Martie Muldoon as Jake's sister, Karen; Marsha Howard as his therapist, Edith; Alexa Hart and Melissa McCloud as Molly, his daughter at different ages; and Meredith Sarboraria as Jake's girlfriend, Sheila.
Donna Blevins, in her directorial debut with Encore Players, has held rehearsals in her backyard and living room in Livermore, in meeting rooms and on Zoom, believing that theater will find a way, even in these times.
Blevins' favorite line of Jake's is: "The thing about going crazy is that it makes you incredibly smart, in a stupid sort of way."
Shows are 7:30 p.m., Friday-Saturday, Jan. 14-15; and 2 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 16, at Bothwell Arts Center East End, 2466 Eighth St., Livermore. Tickets are $20; visit LivermoreArts.org or call 373-6800.
Proof of vaccination will be required at the door, as well as masking. Seating will allow for the audience to space out. The cast and crew are fully vaccinated, and actors will be unmasked only when on stage.
Encore Players has kept active during the pandemic with open mic events on Zoom, online library programs, a live radio performance on Zoom, and a recent outdoor performance of "The Dining Room." To learn more, visit encoreplayers.net.
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