by Rita Charleston
Peter and Rita meet at a party, fall under the spell of love and after a whirlwind courtship, marry at the home of the bride’s parents. At the wedding reception, a strange, old man requests a kiss from the bride. Suddenly, their love story turns into a puzzle as Peter begins to wonder whether Rita is still the person he married. The play, presented by the Drama Group and titled “Prelude to a Kiss” by Craig Lucas, is directed by Robert Bauer. It continues Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. through Nov. 28, at the First Methodist Church of Germantown, 6001 Germantown Ave.
Quakertown native Dustin Karrat, 29, plays Peter alongside his “significant other,” Jackie Sherman, 25, who portrays Rita. Sherman has taken the stage with The Drama Group before, and is delighted to be back. A graduate of the Theatre Arts program at Arcadia University, she has also appeared at Allens Lane, Porch Room Productions and Dark Star Theater. Karrat, also a graduate of the Theatre Arts program at Arcadia, has performed with People’s Light and Theatre, Hedgerow Theatre, Philadelphia Young Playwrights and others. But this is his debut with the Drama Group.
“Actually, is was Jackie’s idea that I audition for the role of Peter, and I’m so glad I did. It’s been a lot of fun working with her,” Karrat said. “We met several years ago when we were both working for a sales company. Jackie was a manager for the company, and I was a trainer. We worked together for a long time and finally became a couple.”
And that’s one of the reasons Karrat feels so comfortable in the role of Peter. “Pretending to be in love with someone on stage can be difficult. But if you’re doing your job, you learn eventually to get over the awkwardness. So it’s very nice to have these feelings already. There’s a lot of chemistry, real chemistry with Jackie and none of that initial weirdness.”
That being said, Karrat adds that the real challenge for him in every role is to find a way to identify with his character. “Peter is very nerdy, and that’s not something I can identify with. He also tends to seek a partner who is very needy, and thats not like Jackie at all. She’s very independent, and I like to think we choose to be together because we want to, not because we need to be together. On the other hand, Peter is very romantic and joyful, and I think we’re alike in that way.”
Off-stage, Sherman is an acting recruiter for Standardize Patients at Salus University in Elkins Park. Karrat, who recently left the sales company he had been working for, teaches acting privately and is looking forward to joining forces with Sherman to start a theatrical company of their own. “I think we’re both anxiously looking forward to that day.”
Tickets are $15 at the door, $10 for students with ID. More information on Facebook or at www.thedramagroup.org.