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Be Here Now September 24 through October 17

15

May
Mike Cooper
Patty Cooper
Luanne Cooper
Scenic Design
Lighting Design
Sound Design
Production Stage Manager
Assistant Stage Manager
Intimacy Director
Props Artisan
Assistant Director
Assistant Lighting Designer/Head Electrician
Wardrobe Supervisor

About

A quirky romantic comedy about a professor of nihilism who experiences joy for the first time in her life.
by Deborah Zoe Laufer
Directed by Courtney O’Connor
Run time: approximately 90 minutes
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Production sponsored by Richard & Carol Daynard
Director Courtney O’Connor, sponsored by Mary & Doug Woodruff
Be Here Now Program

Summary

Be Here Now centers around Bari, a misanthrope who has returned to her hometown of East Cooperville, NY as she struggles to finish her thesis on nihilism. Working at a local fulfillment center, her despair has reached new heights When Bari begins experiencing emotions she never has felt before, she begins to have a different outlook on life. And when she discovers that the cause of these feelings may be killing her, Bari is forced to ask if she wants to go back to a life of nothing.
In Bari, we see a woman experiencing joy and connection with others for the first time in her life, forcing her to question who she is now, what she is willing to do to hold onto her new-found joy, and whether or not she's willing to change. Over this past year and a half, many of us have had to ask ourselves the same questions. And like Bari and those in her world, the answers may surprise all of us."-Courtney O'Connor, Director
Content Advisory: This show contains depictions of seizures.
Be Here Now Summary 
Prelude:
Lights up on Bari, Patty, and Luane participating in a yoga class. Bari resists closing her eyes and participating, and quickly raises her hand to indicate she does not want to be touched. When the class begins chanting “Om,” Bari’s head begins hurting and she quickly runs out. 
Scene 1: 
While working at a local fulfillment center in East Coopersville, NY, Patty Cooper, her niece Luanne Cooper, and her childhood friend Bari package up “authentic” Himalayan gifts for the Easter season. Patty is quick to inform Luanne that her new relationship with a Leo will never work since Luanne is a Scorpio. Patty and Luanne work together to convince Bari to go out on a date with their cousin, Mike, who they claim is a genius and just as “sad”as she is—and most importantly to Patty, a Capricorn. While this conversation is happening, Bari begins to get a very painful headache, and Luanne offers to perform “healing hands” on her. Bari assumes it’s due to the fact that she has stayed up multiple nights in a row trying to finish her dissertation on nihilism to complete her doctorate. Unless Bari is able to complete her thesis in the next 17 days, she’ll be stuck in East Coopersville for the indeterminate future and won’t be able to head back to New York City and her teaching. 
When it’s revealed that Patty and Luanne are taking doctor-prescribed drugs such as Xanax and Adderall as means to support their well-being and happiness, Bari rejects their claims of happiness, stating that their emotions and experiences are manufactured. She then asserts that there is no point to anything because someday the planet will be decimated and all the striving and struggling for civilization will come to nothing. Luanne, realizing Bari is an atheist, shares how her faith and belief in God and heaven bring her happiness, how she makes the choice to believe every day, and implores Bari to believe as well. Bari’s headache becomes excruciating, she smells something burning, and passes out. As Luanne performs healing hands and Patty urges calling 911, Bari revives, seeing vivid colors and “everything beautiful and hopeful and true in the world.” As the colors fade, Bari miserably succumbs to Patty and Luanne, putting on lipstick, taking a crystal from Luanne for good luck, and heads out for her date with Mike. 
Scene 2: 
At Joyner’s Grill, a local restaurant, Bari tries to tell Mike that she’s not interested in dating as he keeps running off to collect pieces of garbage discarded down the road. Mike reveals that he isn’t too interested in going on a date either, but that it’s easier to cave and do what Patty tells him to do. Although relieved, Bari gets another excruciating headache. Mike suggests that maybe it’s a brain tumor, which makes Bari more annoyed than she was before. 
To change the subject, Mike talks to Bari about his pet crow, Hubble, and how crows are incredibly smart. Still completely agitated, Bari talks about how she used to teach Nihilism. Mike laughs at this, rejecting nihilism as a teenager thing. Bari’s headache intensifies, and she passes out as Mike frantically looks for someone to help her. When she comes to, Bari can once again see all the colors and feels that the world is vibrating. She suddenly grabs Mike’s face and kisses him passionately. Bari demands that he come home and have sex with her right now before these feelings dissapear, assuring him that she knows what she wants, is in control, and is not being taken advantage of. Mike refuses to ride in her car, but eventually agrees to hop on his bicycle to follow Bari as she speeds home.
Scene 3: 
The next morning, Luanne frantically texts Bari who hasn’t responded to any texts and is late to work at the fulfillment center. When Bari finally walks in the door at work, the two can’t stop asking questions about the date and how it all went down last night. Bari, after her time with Mike, ended up spending the entire night writing a whole new paper: instead of “nothing really matters,” her dissertation transformed into “everything matters.” Bari reveals that she was a bit of an ass to Mike, kicking him out abruptly after having sex to write, and that he probably won’t want to see her again. After being told by Patty that she has been an ass since childhood, Bari realizes that she wants to apologize to Mike, and with encouragement from Luanne and to the dismay of Patty, she leaves work early to head out to find him. 
Scene 4: 
Bari shows up to Mike’s place (his deceased grandma’s fishing cabin) and is greeted by Hubble. Bari apologizes and explains the situation of her “urges,” Mike tells Bari he releases her from feeling bad about how she treated him, since that’s what he’s “supposed” to do. Bari continues to try and make him understand that this is not her “real” life, and that she is trying to get back to it. 
 Bari eventually joins Mike in eating the turnip stew he has made. As the two continue talking, Mike reveals that he actually had a wife and daughter but he fell asleep at the wheel and killed both of them as well as another driver. He then makes Bari pull out her cell phone and tells her he will call an ambulance if she passes out again. While Bari protests the seizures are harmless, Mike tells her she can stay or go, but that this is a condition of her staying. Bari reluctantly agrees, and works alongside Mike, sanding the paint off of a child’s chair. Bari asks Mike what he does with the garbage, and he tells her he makes tiny houses out of garbage, and is a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship. Bari goes out to see the house he’s building in the backyard, calls him a genius, and laments how close she came to leaving earlier and not seeing his brilliance. Bari begins to wonder if she’s only capable of seeing this now because of her new brain, and if everyone has “a house made of garbage in their backyard?” As she tries to go in for a kiss, he stops her and urges Bari to get her headaches and potential seizures checked out and that the episodes she has don’t make her a better person, despite what she may think. Bari once again has a seizure, although she doesn’t pass out. She proclaims her deep love for Mike, saying she’s never been in love before. Bari then questions whether it’s the seizures turning her into this person or if the seizures are allowing her to be who she was always meant to be. Mike continues to urge Bari to see a doctor, but she continues to beg for a second chance. Mike talks about how after the car accident, he left his previous life entirely and found “quiet” in building shelters for the other homeless men he was living with. He tells Bari that his quiet life building is all he can handle. Bari understands, and with apologies, passes out. 
Scene 5: 
At Walnut Grove Hospital, Bari awakens with Mike next to her bed, making Hubble a birdhouse out of various hospital materials. She asks Mike what has happened and he tells her that after she passed out, he called an ambulance and rode with her to the hospital. The doctors have discovered a precancerous tumor the size of a kiwi in her brain, and want to transfer Bari to Sloan-Kettering in the city for surgery to remove it immediately. Bari tries to convince Mike to let her leave with him. He tells her to “get that kiwi out” and leaves for his walk home to Hubble.  
Scene 6: 
At the fulfillment center, Bari joyfully tells Luanne about Mike accompanying her in the ambulance and then walking 23 miles home. As Bari gushes over the items they’re sending out, Patty questions why Bari is acting like this. Bari explains to the two of them that it is indeed a precancerous tumor, Geschwind Syndrome. Bari reveals she is afraid to have the tumor removed as doing so will take her new-found feelings and joy away. Stating that for the first time in her life, she’s happy to be alive, Bari questions whether it’s better to have a short and amazing life for a short time or a long and possibly joyless life. Mike reappears confused as to why Bari is back at work instead of having surgery. Bari replies that she needs more time to think about whether or not she wants to have the tumor removed, and that she is afraid of losing both them and her newfound self after surgery. Patty tells Bari that she will not convince her to live—if she can save herself and chooses not to, regardless if she is alive—she will be dead to Patty. Bari tells them she hopes she can remember that they all have garbage houses after the tumor is removed, and asks Luanne to use healing hands on her before she goes. Mike reluctantly agrees to drive her to New York, saying he will focus on one mile at a time.
Final Scene: 
Several weeks later, Bari is sitting outside of Joyner’s Grill with an old vacuum and lamp shade. Mike joins her. Bari tells him while she’s still in a lot of pain, the tumor will most likely not return. Mike asks about the items, and Bari reveals she has been collecting things for him. Mike asks why she wouldn’t let him come by sooner, and Bari says she needed to figure out who she is first. He asks if she has, and she responds no. They realize Joyner’s is permanently closed. Bari tells Mike she’s not going to finish her thesis, go back to teaching, or sell the house. They sit quietly together. At Mike’s urging, Bari closes her eyes and the two of them listen to the sounds and breathe in the scents of spring.
Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States 
** Represented by United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829 of the IATSE
° Stage Directors and Choreographers Society  
Listen to Our Be Here Now-Inspired Playlist on Spotify!

Press & Reviews

"Speaking of components: In framing the story, the set by Janie E. Howland for “Be Here Now” is integral in making the show run as seamless as it does because it is, actually, a set SET inside a 'frame'."
"What a wonderful way to kick off the new theatre season."
Artscope | Lyric Stage Company's Be Here Now is Infectious | James Foritano
"The acting is sterling, the direction, by Courtney O’Connor, brisk, the setting, wisely minimal given the athleticism on stage, becomes in itself a presence not to be denied."
My South End | Be Here Now Intrigues | Jules Becker
"Samantha Richert captures the inspiring character arc that takes Bari from despair to hope and self-esteem. Barlow Adamson finds all of Mike's likeable eccentricity and his touching self-searching. Shani Farrell has Patti's tough love and caring. Katherine C. Shaver is properly naïve and supportive. Kudos go to Janie E. Howland's well detailed fulfillment center and Karen Perlow's poetic color visions."

Production Photos

Photos by Mark S. Howard

Ticket Prices

Single Tickets
Play Center Musical Center Play Side Musical Side
ST Wed Mat $55 $60 $40 $45
ST Weeknight $70 $75 $50 $55
ST Weekend $75 $80 $55 $60
20% Prices for Group Sales
Play C Musical C Play S Musical S
ST Wed Mat $44 $48 $32 $36
ST Weeknight $56 $60 $40 $44
ST Weekend $60 $64 $44 $48

 

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