A CAPITAL AFFAIR
a romantic comedy by Rich Orloff
Setting: A plush hotel suite in Washington DC.
Situation: A famous play trying out before its’ Broadway run…and in a mess!
Protagonists: An attractive, older movie star and her ex husband twice over; a reformed alcoholic film star. Add to this a young, sexy and resourceful female director; an ambitious and extremely right wing senior senator; an introverted but witty lovelorn personal secretary and a controversial photographic artist who happens to be gay.
Mix thoroughly and lace with very funny fast paced repartee and you end up with a vehicle that Frank Capra himself would have been delighted to direct and Hollywood stars like Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn would have killed to play. A Capital Affair has not only a lot in common with the Screwball comedy films of the 1930’s and 1940’s America it is almost an “Homage” to them.
The Screwball comedy genre characteristically featured farcical situation with elements of slapstick, witty one liners and smart comeback dialogue with a plot involving courtship and marriage or even re-marriage. A sex comedy without the sex! But always beneath the flippant exterior a social conscience was hard at work. Issues of a class ridden society where the rich had money and power and the poor only their wits as a result of the great depression figured prominently in the films of the 1930’s. So in A Capital Affair from beneath the veneer of clever comedy important moral issues of the day surface. In a world ruled by political correctness do we not have the freedom to choose whom we love and to freely express ourselves through art? These questions were relevant in 1989 and today. Recognition of civil partnerships as legal and the battle between Art and pornography still continue. The character of Zeke in the play and the real life photographer Robert Mapplethorpe is not coincidental.
But all’s well that ends well. As in the Screwball comedies of the 30’s the girl always got her man and the rich their come-uppance, so in our play Jack gets his Jill (or Jack as the case requires) and bigotry and intolerance bite the dust.