Robert and Beth meet for dinner on the first, fifth, and tenth anniversaries – of their divorce.
Still civil – though just barely – the couple tries to salvage a friendship from the ashes of their ruined marriage. Arguments over the choice of wine, whether to share their food and Robert’s playboy past turn the first dinner into disaster. Nevertheless, Robert persists and the couple repeats the experiment on the fifth and tenth anniversaries of their divorce as well.
Nosy waiter Anton, who serves them all three meals, punctuates their conversation with well-timed interventions guaranteed to elicit the most information he can gather – and outbursts from the frustrated couple.
“Happy Anniversary” is about the ways we cling to fading hopes and romanticized memories from past loves, long after the relationships have failed – and how we can learn from those failures so we can love healthily once again.
Script-type: Full-length Comedy
Length: approx. 75 pages
Cast size: 3
- North End Players, 7600 N Hereford St, June 28, 2014, 7:30 PM. Readers Theatre.
- Serendipity Players, Vancouver, WA, March 2-25, 2012. Grand opening of their new location at 500 Washington St, Vancouver, WA. Directed by Tony Broom. Cast: JJ Harris, Susan Westbo Harris, Cecilia Harper.
- Fertile Ground Festival of New Works, the Gerding Theater at the Portland Armory, January 30, 2010, Staged Reading, directed by Elisabeth Goebel. Cast: Dave Roberts, Annaliese Gove, John Richards.
Reviews from the Serendipity Players production, March, 2012:
“The play was wonderfully and relatably written. It had a great blend of comedy and drama, and as a viewer I was truly drawn in to see where it was going to go! Overall we had a great time and were really impressed with the actors portrayal of the characters, they were so convincing and I became quite attached to them! We will definitely come to see another show!”
Brad & Cyndi Ridenhour
“Great play, great venue, great actors! Thanks for the nice afternoon at your theater!”
“We liked how the seating was set up, there wasn’t a bad seat in the house. I liked the different levels of the seats as you weren’t having to peek in between people’s heads to see the show. The play was well done and had a good mix of drama and comic relief. The script was thought provoking and written in a nice, natural style. The costumes were well done, I liked watching the characters age. Overall a great debut for your company.”
“We enjoyed the play very much and are looking forward to perhaps seeing more by this writer. The acting was wonderful.”
“Well done. … Happy Anniversary plays for two more weekends and I recommend it.”
– Bonnie Sabel, Vancouver, WA
“Gary Corbin leads us through three delightful courses of Robert (JJ Harris) and Beth (Susan Westbo Harris) who celebrate not their wedding anniversary but their divorce anniversary. And, these courses are served simultaneously with icy cold cruelty and searing hot tenderness that reflects back on our own vulnerability, of our remembrance for love lost, and the familiarity of this pain that smoothes out with laughter over the years… A delight and a treat, an experience to savor the bitter-sweetness of lost love and the enjoyment of well-written and acted quips and remarks.”
– Portland Stage Reviews
People who saw the staged reading of “Happy Anniversary” had this to say:
“Don’t miss ‘Happy Anniversary’! It is humorous and also insightful. One of Corbin’s best.”
– Bonnie Littleton – Vancouver director, actress
“[T]he play touched me with its humor and honesty about the way relationships change over the years. Gary Corbin is an astute observer of human nature with a unique talent for showing us who we are in his writing.”
– Dr. Claire Wheeler
“Corbin really knows how to tell a story. I saw this read at PCS – funny.”
– Sandra, Vancouver, WA
“Witty, clever, funny and engaging – just a few words to describe this play. Gary Corbin is a masterful playwright who offers great insight into human relationships.”
– Shirlene Warnock, Oregon City