The plot of “The Drunken City,” Jesse Jou admits, sounds silly and typical. Three young women, all good friends, head into the big city for a night of carousing. It’s the bachelorette celebration for one of them.
During the course of the evening, the bride-to-be meets a man, and goes off with him to do something, and probably not something she should.
The comedy by Adam Bock sounds a bit like something out of “Sex and the City,” Jou allows, and it does indeed have that kind of flavor. Reviews of previous productions have actually compared it to that TV sitcom. Others have called it “flimsy but sweet.”
But Jou, who’s directing the upcoming production of “The Drunken City” for the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training, said there’s substance underlying the comedy in the play.
“It’s a comedy, and it’s very funny,” Jou said. “But there’s a lot of complexity to it. Some of that is in the words. Some of the complexity comes from the actors.”
Some observers have noted that Bock’s script reveals the loneliness underlying the three women’s drinking and apparent merriment. Jou notes that the bride-to-be in the play, who may seem to do be doing something reprehensible, is just a young woman who is on a journey of discovery.
“What she wants,” Jou said, “is to find out where her life is going. Is she doing things because she wants to, or because she’s supposed to want to?”
Bock’s work is quirky, and isn’t necessarily the kind of stuff that gets commonly staged here in the provinces. But he’s well-known to audiences and theater people in New York.
Adam is a great writer, and he’s a very theatrical writer. So when you read the play its seems kind of silly. But it’s very clever and it has all these very theatrical elements
“Adam is a great writer, and he’s a very theatrical writer,” Jou said. “So when you read the play its seems kind of silly. But it’s very clever and it has all these very theatrical elements.”
This is the second Asolo Conservatory production for Jou, who spent many years in New York before taking his current position teaching at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. He also directed Paula Vogel’s “How I Learned to Drive” in 2014. He’s impressed with the program and especially impressed with this year’s group of student actors. (He was able to cast six actors, half of the second-year students, in “The Drunken City.”)
“I’m thrilled to be back in Sarasota and thrilled to be back working with the conservatory,” he said. “There’s so much talent here. I think these young women actors are really enjoying playing these women. They’re enjoying seeing how much they have in common with them, and how they’re different. They’re bringing their entire humanity to these characters.”
Details: Feb. 21-March 12, Cook Theatre at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. $28-$29 general, $22.40-$23.20 military, $14-$14.50 student under 25.. 941-351-8000, asolorep.org.