“If you asked me 10 years ago where I wanted to be …”
M. Bevin O’Gara lets the thought hang in the empty rehearsal room, the production of “A Future Perfect” now moved to a stage at Calderwood Pavilion for the show’s world premiere. The director doesn’t clue me in to what a decade-younger version of herself imagined for her life in 2015, but says her priorities have shifted. Now—recently engaged, gainfully employed as an associate producer at Huntington Theater, and fresh off a year that saw her directorial work in Boston on many Best of 2014 lists—O’Gara says, “I’m happy.”
It is this line of thought that sits at the crux of “A Future Perfect,” a new play by Ken Urban that the SpeakEasy Stage Company has billed as “A timely new comedy about friendship, babies, and defining success.” In a Brooklyn apartment with a guitar mounted to a red accent wall, chairs adorned with orange accent pillows, and a fat stack of old records, a couple who met in the nineties grapples with what they want out of life, what they need from each other, and how those things have changed since their relationship began. Nearing 40, Claire (Marianna Bassham) has “professionalized” and Max (Brian Hastert) works for pennies on a PBS puppet show. Their respective shifts in priorities since they were in college come into sharp focus when they learn their friends are pregnant—and Claire is openly, albeit unconsciously, hostile about the news.
“What I liked about this play was that Claire was unlike other women I’d been reading,” says O’Gara, who has known the playwright for years (but this is their first collaboration). “She was blunt, she said what was on her mind, and it gets her in trouble—that part of her doesn’t change throughout the play. She says blunt things in scene one, she says blunt things in scene nine, but her awareness of that is different. She is actively deciding to be that same person, even though parts of herself have shifted.”
“I heard Claire very early on,” says Urban. “What her voice sounded like, what her goals were—and I knew I had to make her fearless.”
This fearless-yet-conflicted protagonist is matched by the even-tempered musical Max, and both of them continue to bring their briefcases and baggage home from work each day, building the tension in their chic, contemporary condo. Pregnancy may have been what set off the soul searching, but it’s not the only thing impacting their senses of self. The political and professional pressures keep each person’s character in constant flux, and through it all, “A Future Perfect” asks, can a partnership last?
“We often talk about drifting apart,” says O’Gara, “but can we drift together?”
A FUTURE PERFECT. CALDERWOOD PAVILION, 539 HUNTINGTON AVE., BOSTON. ONGOING THROUGH SAT 2.7. FOR SHOWTIMES AND TICKET PRICES, VISIT SPEAKEASYSTAGE.COM