At a Friday night rehearsal six days before opening night of the play Buttercream & Scotch, there were some delays for the working out of logistics. Should Tatiana Pavela splash whiskey in her face? Probably not, since it was pretty painful when it got in her eyes. Should Paige Collette spread her legs into a wide V when her character is sprawled on a couch talking about oral sex? Definitely, but she’ll need to watch out for that lamp—it might not survive being knocked off the end table again.
Collette and Pavela are a bicoastal duo (if, as Waiting for Guffman suggests, you consider the Mississippi River a coast): Collette lives in Minneapolis, Pavela in New York City. They met several years ago as theater students at New York University, and first developed Buttercream & Scotch together in New York when they were both working for Morgan Stanley after graduation. They’re reviving the piece at the People’s Center from July 14-16, in a production directed by Samantha Johns (Dalí’s Liquid Ladies, The Thing, Fanciness Vs. The Void).
The play is about the relationships of a 46-year-old divorcee (Collette) and her 25-year-old niece (Pavela): their relationships with men, but mostly their relationship with each other. From what I saw in rehearsal, the piece is marked by the same blend of genuine emotion, silly physical humor, and magical realism that I’ve enjoyed in earlier work by Johns and Collette. (I don’t pretend impartiality: Johns and Collette are both friends of mine, and I attended the rehearsal at Collette’s invitation.)
As we sat sweating in the rehearsal space—Johns’s Lowertown loft—on Friday night, we talked about how it’s a good thing that the People’s Center is air-conditioned. Buttercream & Scotch seems likely to be a refreshing experience in more ways than one.