Island Players prepare final play of season

Island Players prepare final play of season
From left, Katherine Dye, Tom Horton, Kristin Mazzitelli, Eric Johnson, Maggie Carter and Caleb Allen star in the Island Players upcoming production of ‘How the Other Half Loves,' opening May 4. - Jason Schaffer | Sun

ANNA MARIA – The Island Players, Manatee County’s oldest community theater, plans to go out with a bang this season.

After directing “The Psychic,” the final play of the 2021-22 season, James Thaggard returns to close out another season with a show he says will bring plenty of laughs involving a unique stage design essential to the plot.

“Our set is two living rooms on one stage simultaneously, with dialogue happening in both, and not always at the same time during the play,” Thaggard said. “At one point we have the characters in both living rooms, but it’s Thursday in one room and Friday in another.”

The story of “How the Other Half Loves” is that of an upper-class couple in an upper-class house and a middle-class couple who live more modestly. Because of an affair, three couples wind up involved in a situation that Thaggard says will leave the audience in stitches. The play was written in 1970 by the prolific Alan Ayckbourn, and while Thaggard stuck to the script, he says sound was very important in this production. No spoilers, but he says audiences may catch some “audio Easter eggs” he personally added due to his fondness for that time in history.

“How the Other Half Loves” runs from Thursday, May 4 through Sunday, May 14, with daily performances at 7:30 p.m. and a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. There are no performances on Mondays. Tickets are $25 at the box office and $27 online. The box office is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Call 941-778-5755 or visit