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9:18 PM Sun, Sept. 23rd

‘Good Doctor’ mixes Chekhov, Neil Simon (VIDEO)

Jonathan Perpich plays The Writer, a character who may be Anton Chekhov, in Neil Simon’s “The Good Doctor,” directed by Paul Epoch. It’s playing at Stage Too as one of three shows in PCA’s Summer Repertory series.

Photo by Scott Orr.

Jonathan Perpich plays The Writer, a character who may be Anton Chekhov, in Neil Simon’s “The Good Doctor,” directed by Paul Epoch. It’s playing at Stage Too as one of three shows in PCA’s Summer Repertory series.

PRESCOTT – “The Good Doctor” combines the stories of Russian playwright Anton Chekhov with the comic sensibilities of Neil Simon.

Video

The Orchestrette

That sentence, while it describes the play, doesn’t really do it justice.

The Good Doctor is one of the three plays beings staged at Prescott Center for the Arts’

Stage Too black-box venue as part of its Summer Repertory series.

It’s full of vignettes – 10, to be precise – held together by the presence of The Writer (Jonathan Perpich), a character who might be Chekhov, and who literally writes some dialogue for the other actors as the perform.

It’s clearly Perpich’s show, and he does a solid job of shifting from the role of narrator, to characters within the vignettes.

He said the The Writer is “sort of the glue where my energy is going to, probably, dictate what energy follows.”

While it’s a comedy, the show ranges widely, from the goofiness of “The Sneeze,” in which a low-level government employee sneeze on a high official during an opera and ends up with a nervous breakdown over it, to “Too Late for Happiness,” where a man and woman sing tenderly about making time for each other.

The play bogs down for a bit in the middle – a vignette about two military commanders debating the perfect five-course lunch falls flat – but comes roaring back, and the scene of a man who makes a living at the docks by feigning drowning for pay is great.

Finally, Perpich plays The Writer’s father in a flashback, taking his clueless son to a brothel as a rite of passage.

Director Paul Epoch said putting on what amounts to 10 one-act plays “had its challenges, which I call opportunities,” and that “the dedication and professionalism of the cast is what pulled us through.

“It’s been quite the ride. I’ve never had so much fun directing a play.”

He said he cast Perpich, “JP” for short, first. “I learn from working with him every time.

“JP is my favorite local actor.”

Title aside, the show is funny and poignant and funny and dramatic and … well, you get the idea.

If You Go:

PCA’s Summer Repertory series

The Good Doctor, directed by Paul Epoch, runs July 9, 22, 30, Aug. 7 and 12 at 7:30 p.m.; July 17 and Aug. 7 at 2 p.m.

All tickets are $15 plus a $2 handling fee. Buy all three shows in the series and get $5 off. They’re available at the PCA Gallery, by phone at 928-445-3286, or online at www.PCA-AZ.net.