“Love Bits & Bites” Explores the Mystery of Love

"Love Bits & Bites 2011: The Sixth Sense" opened Feb. 12th
"Love Bits & Bites 2011: The Sixth Sense" opened Feb. 12th
"Love Bits & Bites 2011: The Sixth Sense" opened Feb. 12th
"Love Bits & Bites 2011: The Sixth Sense" opened Feb. 12th

Cary Players will present Love Bits & Bites 2011: The Sixth Sense, the community theater’s yearly Valentine’s Day program of one-act plays, directed this year by Lyman Collins and Jaret Preston, on Feb. 12 and 13 and 18-20 at the Page-Walker Arts and History Center in Cary, NC.

According to the Cary Players:

“A favorite Cary Players holiday tradition, this sixth-annual production of the PG-13 [show] is an all new collection of scenes, one-acts, and songs that celebrate the charm, magic, and mystery of love (sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet, often funny). Two acts on each of two floors of the Page-Walker Arts & History Center … will be performed twice each evening[. T]he audience [can start on either floor, but will] will change floors at intermission (after enjoying mouth-watering complimentary chocolate confections and coffee)!”

Director Lyman Collins notes: “Love Bits & Bites has been a unique, collaborative production of Cary Players since 2006. I was part of the group that developed the concept.”

He adds “I have been fortunate to have directed (or in this case, co-directed) all of the Love Bits & Bites productions…. This unique combination of one-acts looks at various aspects of love, with songs interspersed between the scenes[. Love Bits & Bites finds] the thread that links it all together. Then there is the opportunity to work with cast and crew to bring it all together.”

According to Lyman Collins, the 2011 edition of Love Bits & Bites consists of “Seven different one-acts (two of them written by area playwrights) [performed on] two floors of the Page-Walker Arts & History Center, an intimate, non-traditional performance space that allows audience members to almost be part of the show.” He adds, “There is music to compliment the scenes.”

Music director Craig Johnson says, “Last year, we expanded beyond Broadway [show tunes] into the movies. This year, inspired by ‘Glee,’ we continue that expansion into pop, rock and folk.”

“Each floor has a distinct flavor,” claims director Lyman Collins. “This year, two of the downstairs shows are centered around ‘unreal’ situations, with the final scene a sweet love story. Upstairs the focus is somewhat unreal as well with scenes that take a look at super heroes or other worldly situations.”

According to the Cary Players, the lineup of this year’s edition of LOVE BITS & BITES includes:

  • Off the Map” by Rich Orloff features Phil Lewis and Colleen Guest as a couple trying to find the right direction for their marriage. Jim Cox offers them some valuable advice.
  • The Thickening Water” by local playwright Thom Haynes explores family and relationships and how complicated [they] can be. This new work features Chris Bynum, Noelle Barnard, and Annah Michaux.
  • A Blooming Ivy” by Garry Williams is a tender look at love, when it gets a second chance. Gilly Conklin and Jeff Nugent play neighbors Ivy and George.
  • Leaping Tall Buildings” by local professor and author Stephen Roten lets us know that love can bring even the strongest super hero to his knees. Steve Whetzel and Courtney Slocum star in this one-act.
  • Perchance” by Craig Pospisil is a stylized look at what could have been and features the talents of Bruce Ackerman, Chris Bynum, Becca Easley, and Shelley Stewart.
  • Extracurricular Activity” by Jay Hannagan looks at how opposites attract, or not when Mika Huvard as Jenn meets George Kaiser as Xenon!
  • Superhero” by Mark Harvey Levine is the fourth play by Mr. Levine that Cary Players has produced. Jacqueline Dorry and Clint Lineau don’t miss a beat in this madcap comedy.”

In addition to directors Lyman Collins and Jaret Preston, the Cary Players’ creative team for Love Bits & Bites 2011: The Sixth Sense includes producer Debra Zumbach Grannan, music director Craig Johnson, assistant music director Angela Davis, master carpenter and set designer Bob Grannan, sound effects designer Rich LaBach, and stage manager Carole Kelly.

Producer Debra Grannan notes that the show’s costume and props design was “truly collaborative effort by the cast and members of the production team!” Sets for the show incorporate a few household “fixtures” of the Page-Walker Arts & History Center into the action, says Grannan, and there is a play set in Antarctica that will “change up” the traditional elegant look of the Page-Walker Arts & History Center.

Grannan says the cast’s wardrobe for the production includes a few special items that had to be ordered, “but the rest is a lot of fun items … some dressy and elegant and some just funky … that the actors all helped pull together.”

She adds, “The gallery lighting in the Page-Walker is simply redirected to illuminate performing art rather that visual art!

Cary Players producer Debra Grannan notes, “During the run of the show, there will be a donation box in the lobby for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina (http://www.foodbankcenc.org/). In the spirit of ‘sharing a bite,’ patrons and cast members of Love Bits & Bites will have the opportunity to donate of a non-perishable food item.”

Cary Players presents LOVE BITS & BITES 2011: THE SIXTH SENSE at 8 p.m. Feb. 12, 4 p.m. Feb. 13, 8 p.m. Feb. 18 and 19, and 4 p.m. Feb. 20 in the Page-Walker Arts & History Center, 119 Ambassador Loop, Cary, North Carolina 27513.

TICKETS: $17 (includes free sweets during intermission), except special $15 Feb 20th performance to benefit Friends of the Page-Walker Hotel (click here to buy tickets for that performance: http://www.friendsofpagewalker.org/concerts_and_programs?eventId=160681&EventViewMode=EventDetails).


Cary Players Box Office: info@caryplayers.org, or http://caryplayers.org/tickets.html.

Ticketmaster: 800/745-3000, 919/834-4000, or http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/115428/1007192. SHOW: http://caryplayers.org/lbb2011.html.

PRESENTER: http://www.caryplayers.org/.

VENUE: http://www.townofcary.org/.


Friends of the Page-Walker Hotel: http://www.friendsofpagewalker.org/ (official website).


Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review,a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This preview is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.

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To read all of Robert W. McDowell’s Triangle Theater Reviewpreviews and reviews online at Triangle Arts & Entertainment, click http://triangleartsandentertainment.org/author/robert-w-mcdowell/.

By Robert W. McDowell

Robert W. McDowell is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer, editor, and critic. He has written theater, film, book, and music previews and reviews for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, and Classical Voice of North Carolina, all based in Raleigh. In 1980-91, he covered business, industry, government, and education for (We the People of) North Carolina magazine, published monthly by N.C. Citizens for Business and Industry. In April 2001, McDowell started Robert's Reviews, a FREE weekly e-mail newsletter that provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of the performing arts in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, which includes Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro. Triangle Review is the latest-and-greatest version of McDowell's original newsletter. (To start your FREE subscription, e-mail robertm748[at]aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) From December 1980 until September 2017, McDowell served on the board of directors of The Cinema, Inc., a Raleigh-based nonprofit film society formed in 1966. He currently publishes a weekly list of FREE advance screenings of movies in the Triangle area. (To have your e-mail address added to this FREE list, e-mail robertm748[at]aol.com and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.) McDowell also co-edited and supervised the production of Jim Valvano's Guide to Great Eating (JTV Enterprises, 1984), a 224-page sports celebrity cookbook; and he served as a fact checker for Valvano: They Gave Me a Lifetime Contract, and Then They Declared Me Dead (Pocket Books, 1991).