The University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) will present a sprawling, elegant production of American playwright William Saroyan's award-winning five-act play The Time of Your Life, running Feb. 6 (preview) - 10 in UC's Patricia Corbett Theater.
Set in a run-down waterfront dive bar on the docks of San Francisco ("Nick's Pacific Street Saloon, Restaurant and Entertainment Palace") in October of 1939, The Time of Your Life is filled with colorful characters, love and the follies of humanity. CCM Associate Professor of Drama Diane Kvapil directs.
With the second World War looming on the horizon, Saroyan faced the suffering of mankind and presented that suffering with a choice. "I want to restore man to himself," Saroyan once explained. "I want to restore man to his natural dignity and gentleness." Out of this playwright's need to express his idea of the human condition came what the New York Post calls a "tender and hilarious, probing and elusive" portrait of life.
"People everywhere needed respite from fear," Kvapil explains. "Hope was hard to find. ... the whole world was at war or in fear of invasion." In this climate, the run-down waterfront saloon of Saroyan's play serves as a refuge, a place of peace and camaraderie.
Scenic Designer Mark Halpin elaborates, "Because Saroyan's original audience would have seen this play during the Great Depression, we felt we needed to give our contemporary audience some visual sense of the world outside of Nick's Saloon. Thus, we get a look at an abstract and impersonal, harsh exterior world, as well as the quirky, warm and cozy interior. The saloon is definitely a safe haven for the characters in the play, and we wanted to emphasize that by giving a glimpse of the world it's a haven from."