Feel like your life is surreal? Enter ‘The Marriage Zone’ at the Santa Monica Playhouse

Reviewed by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

If you’re entering The Marriage Zone with a healthy amount of skepticism, your fears, dreams and doubts will not be denied. Where most relationships can make you occasionally feel like you are living in another dimension, this place is the ‘Outer Limits.

Cal and Beth are selling their home for an ‘upgrade’ on life for themselves and their son. They’re visited by Skip and Ellie a newly engaged and randy-in-love couple. They’re also joined by Mike and Liz, an older couple looking to revisit their old house. When the three begin to chat, they discover they have more in common than they can handle. Each person’s reality suddenly depends on the other’s.

The Marriage Zone by playwright Jeff Gould (It’s Just Sex, Troubled Waters), currently running as a guest production at the Santa Monica Playhouse, explores the dynamics of the relationships between men and women. And whereas in his earlier works Gould is occasionally biting in his perspective, here there is a comical and tender clarity that asks us all to look at ourselves, our motives, our wants and desires. Ultimately, The Marriage Zone asks us to really think about what and how much it is we truly need.

Beautifully and simply written, The Marriage Zone is directed at times (also by Gould) with a sort of bouncy, sitcom feeling that holds audience attention without drippy melodrama. Instead, we’re handed a downright honest exchange of ideas that most of us think about and act out all the time, but aren’t willing to fess up to.

The Marriage Zone boasts a stellar cast with a lot of chemistry, that keeps this play moving quite smoothly for a thrilling and fun ride.


Note: There are multiple cast actors. This evening starred:

Monica Young (Modern Family, Cougar Town) as Beth, Ben Bergstom (Reckless Juliets, Emergency Operation) as Skip, Matt Harrison (The Debt Collector, Five Second Chances) as Cal, Tanner Fontanta (The Originals, Agents of Shield) as Ryan, Alex Hyde-White (Female of the Species, Jefferson and Franklin) as Mike, Dawn Joyal (Black-ish, Now We’re Talking), and Leslie Stratton (Seussical the Musical, Truth or Dare) as Ellie.

Photo above by Joel Berti: Matt Harrison (l.), Tanner Fontana, Monica Young


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