"Suspension of disbelief:" The temporary acceptance as believable of events or characters that would ordinarily be seen as incredible.
- Phrase coined by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1817
Here is a play that asks you to suspend your disbelief in more ways than one.
And you will.
It's staged in a corner of the El Gato Azul restaurant, with minimal lighting, props, and no real set.
But all that's easy to forget as the show unfolds.
The premise of the one-act comedy "My Narrator" by Norm Foster is simple: What if we, the audience, could see and hear the two lead characters' inner voices as if they were people too?
Lacy (Joanne Roberston) is inwardly guided by Barb (Linda Miller); Miles (Sean Jeralds) gains himself a narrator, too (Bruce Thomson).
Miles is a lovable loser who meets Lacy and is immediately smitten. Lacy's "narrator," Barb, coaches her to steer clear of the bumbling Miles, but to Barb's growing frustration, Lacy agrees to see him.
It soon becomes clear the Lacy and Miles are, well, not soulmates.
But Miles begins getting advice from his own narrator, Bob, who falls in love with Barb, and things become strange as Bob and Barb desperately try to force Lacy and Miles to stay together.
(By the way, wait until you find out what college degrees qualify one to become an inner voice.)
It's a simple set-up and it's very funny.
Although the entire cast has the acting chops, not to mention the experience on stage, to pull off such an intimate show, Jeralds very nearly walks away with it. His rubber face and equally goofy voice is spot-on for a character who doesn't know what he doesn't know.
Robertson plays a hilarious straight-man to many of Jerald's odd non-sequiturs.
Miller and Thomson hit just the right notes as frustrated matchmakers whose subjects sometimes just won't listen to good advice.
The cast credits the Norm Foster script for the easy delivery and laughs.
Jeralds said, "It all starts with the writing. You've got to have a good script...then you just get out of the way and let (the cast) deliver."
"It's good material," Miller said. "We just try to do the best we can to pull you into the story."
Thomson added that Jeralds and Robertson have "such good chemistry, it's baked into the casting."
This is the third holiday benefit show the Jeralds-Robertson duo has performed- proceeds go to the Park Avenue Theater, the local children's musical theater company.
The venue is donated by, and the dinner supplied by, El Gato owner Barry Barbe.
"He's so community-minded, and so supportive of the arts in our community and children in our community," said Robertson, the director of Park Avenue Theater, "when we proposed it three years ago, he unhesitatingly said, 'Yeah, we'll make it happen.'"
Robertson's character, in particular, breaks the fourth wall a couple of times, interacting with audience members.
"I think it's going to be lot of fun," she said, "and it'll be an opportunity for some improv.
"It's a fun challenge."
"My Narrator" by Norm Foster shows Dec. 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, and 22 at El Gato Azul restaurant, 316 W. Goodwin. Directed by Sean Jeralds. Tickets are $35 and include the show plus a three-course dinner of tapas served family style, and dessert. Dinner at 6 p.m.; show starts at 6:30 p.m. Barbe recommends arriving at 5:30 p.m., because seating is first-come, first served. Reservations suggested; call 928-445-1070.
Proceeds benefit the local children's musical theater company, Park Avenue Theater.
Follow Scott Orr on Twitter @AZNewsguy. Call him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2038 or 928-642-7705.