May 18 - July 1, 2012
Playwrights Horizons, New York
Lee Tergesen plays Don, the
center of two women's attention in the premiere production of
"Rapture, Blister, Burn," by Gina Gionfriddo.
The play, which stars Amy Brenneman and Kellie
Overbey, was in previews starting May 18, with opening night on
June 12. It had originally been scheduled to run through June 24,
but was extended to July 1 after a raft of glowing reviews from
opening night. The Off Broadway production is at Playwrights
Horizons' Mainstage Theater, 416 W. 42nd Street, New York City.
Here's the synopsis, and Lee has
a "prize" role!
After grad school, Catherine (Amy Brenneman)
and Gwen (Kellie Overbey) chose polar opposite paths. Catherine
built a career as a rockstar academic, while Gwen built a home
with her husband (Lee Tergesen) and children. Decades later,
unfulfilled in polar opposite ways, each woman covets the
other's life, commencing a dangerous game of musical chairs —
the prize being Gwen's husband. With searing insight and
trademark wit, Gina Gionfriddo's comedy is an unflinching look
at gender politics in the wake of 20th century feminist ideals.
The husband, Don, is described as a
"slacker college dean whose laissez-faire view of life holds a
strange allure for Catherine."
Lee said the play is about relationships, about "people
getting to a point in their life ... and re-thinking everything
and maybe they made mistakes."
Whereas the women wonder if they should
have taken a different path, Lee said, "Don is a guy who is
pretty happy in his life. ... The difference between women and
men is that women like to talk about things but not really come
up with a solution, whereas men are the fixers. Don has gone
through his life doing what he had to do to make things
comfortable, even when part of that is starting to get this porn
habit which sort of takes [Don] sexually away from [his]
Following is a "trailer" for the
The play was written by Gina Gionfriddo and
directed by Peter DuBois. Gionfriddo was a Pulitzer Prize finalist
for the play “Becky Shaw,” which ran Off Broadway in 2009.
The two protagonists of
Blister, Burn, Catherine and Gwen, were best friends during
graduate school. Catherine went on to become a star academic in
feminist theory, leaving Gwen behind with her ex-boyfriend, Don,
to hook up and marry. Twenty years later, both women ponder
roads not taken and seem to covet each other’s life. When
Catherine returns home to visit her ailing mother, she seizes
the occasion to get back in touch with Gwen and Don to heal—or
stir up—old conflicts. Looking for work, Catherine asks Don for
the opportunity to teach a summer class at the undistinguished
local college where he is a dean. Gwen wants to take this class.
So does Avery, Gwen’s decidedly post-feminist coed babysitter.
Since they meet at Catherine’s house, even Catherine’s mother
gets drafted into the class discussion. These informal classes
seem to cover almost every post-feminist viewpoint on a wide
range of subjects. But they also excite an equally wide range of
emotions. Things come to a head between Gwen, Catherine and Don
and all three of them seem to get their wish, at least
temporarily. Then things fall apart. Progress? Hardly.