“The Ladies’ Foursome” by Norm Foster, Canada’s most-produced playwright, is a steady-paced walk around an 18-hole golf course with four women as they delve into the timeless issues of life—love, sex (of course), children, death, God, dreams realized at a cost and dreams deferred.
The Santa Clara Players (SCP) production, well-cast with veteran local actors, runs May 18 – June 9 at SCP’s intimate theater at 1511 Warburton Ave., behind the Triton Museum of Art. “The Ladies’ Foursome” is always funny and, at times, heart touching.
“I find it far more satisfying if I can make an audience laugh and feel a little heartache within the same story,” wrote Foster—dubbed the Neil Simon (American playwright) of Canada—on his website.
While the recently-released movie “Book Club” is a senior quest (four women in their 60s) to find or renew love, “The Ladies’ Foursome” is about three friends of 14 years who are in their 40s—Margot, Tate and Connie.
The women play a round of golf in honor of their recently deceased friend, Catherine, who was struck dead by lightning, not, as one might guess, on the golf course but on a Ferris wheel. They have invited a new acquaintance, a friend of Catherine’s named Dory, to take Catherine’s place for the day.
“I hate golf, but where else can you start drinking this early in the morning and it’s okay?” says Margot (Jaime Wolf).
Toting their golf bags over their shoulders and swinging at invisible (for safety’s sake) balls, the women ask universal questions and make discoveries about themselves and Catherine.
“Why did God have to take someone so nice?” asks Tate (Sandy Sodos).
“God is a man,” says Connie (Kristine Berg), later in the conversation about God. “A woman wouldn’t rest on the seventh day. She’d say, ‘I think I’ll organize that closet.'”
One doesn’t have to be a woman or a golfer to appreciate the friendship and funny, frank discussion in “The Ladies’ Foursome.” The setting is unique but the appeal is universal.
“I begged to direct this play,” said director Kathy Gutto, who has been involved in SCP productions for 35 years. “The women have a special bond I could relate to. They’re starting to worry about dreams they put aside to be in the lives they are in now. It’s a transitional time in their lives.”
“You didn’t have any dreams of your own?” Tate asks newcomer Dory.
“They weren’t big dreams,” says Dory (Amy Wright).
“Any dream should matter, big or small,” says Tate.
“The play is very honest and funny. The women’s friendships are critical in helping the women maneuver through their lives. The support and love they show is special,” said Gutto. “Some have made mistakes but none regrets her life—just the mistakes made along the way.”
At least one man in the audience opening weekend said that he learned a thing or two about life and women.
“It’s interesting that the ‘unknown’ factor is introduced, that it’s the out-of-towner, Dory, who gives insights into the women’s departed friend as well as themselves,” observed Santa Clara resident John Lawrence.
“I’m more than proud of this cast. They are four amazingly talented women who bring so much life and energy and sincerity to their roles—and they’re funny,” said Gutto.
“The Ladies’ Foursome,” first produced in 2014, is the counter balance to playwright Foster’s 1998 play “The Foursome,” in which four male golfers hook up for a round of golf at their 15-year college reunion.
“The Foursome” was produced by Santa Clara Players during its 2016 – 2017 season. With “The Ladies’ Foursome,” Foster and the Santa Clara Players have given the ladies the last word.