Closing out the three-play summer season next week for Serenbe Playhouse is the gayest show of the bunch, the musical “Time Between Us,” featuring Serenbe founder and director Brian Clowdus and actress Laura Floyd sharing the stage the entire time.
Making its regional theater premiere, “Time Between Us” was written by Tess Barker and openly gay Brett Schrier and is directed here by Justin Anderson. It focuses on Matthew (Clowdus), who is gay, and Morgan (Floyd), who become best friends in art school and vow to move to New York after they graduate and became famous, he as a photographer and she as a fashion designer.
But as the years pass, their plans and lives change. He moves to New York and becomes a world class photographer, while she marries after school and does not move to the Big Apple.
Matthew has a boyfriend but they do not stay together long, especially when Morgan tells him she thinks the beau is holding him back professionally. Over the course of more than 20 years, Matthew and Morgan lose touch somewhat and their friendship loses its luster as she struggles to find time for family demands and his career consumes most of his life.
After a nasty falling out, they don’t speak for 10 years. Eventually Matthew realizes he has a career but few personal connections and Morgan realizes she has given up her dreams.
Clowdus, who is gay, had a friend see the show when it was part of the New York Musical Theatre Festival last year and the scouting news he got was very positive. He later met with playwright Schrier and they decided the first regional production would be at Serenbe.
“It seemed like a great fit for us,” Clowdus says. “The music is so haunting. ‘Time Between Us’ also deals with themes such as jealously and dreams, which fits in perfectly with our 2012 season, a season of dreams.”
He can relate to the character of Matthew and his pursuit of a career. Clowdus says that when he started Serenbe over three years ago, it became all about his ambition and his social life took a backseat.
“I’ve been so focused,” he says. “I realized I had to make an effort. I had been too busy to date.”
Although the characters in the show age 20 years, the actors don’t use any kind of makeup, believing the audience will believe their transformation.
“Laura and I can both pass for early 40s,” Clowdus laughs.
Playwrights Schrier and Barker have been friends for a while, and while Schrier says the beginning of “Time Between Us” mirrors their friendship, it is not an autobiography.
Schrier’s idea of a perfect gay character is someone whose orientation is just one aspect of who they are.
“Being gay is part of who Matthew is, but it’s not who he is,” he says. “It doesn’t define him. I love work that can do that.”
Schrier is scheduled to attend the opening weekend performances of the musical and is excited to see the first regional production.
According to both Schrier and Clowdus, “Time Between Us” is really about whether it’s possible to have it all.
“For me, I absolutely do want it all,” Schrier says. “I want to make a lot of money and have romance and a personal life and have a huge professional career. I want balance, but is that really possible?”
Top photo: Brian Clowdus and Laura Floyd star in ‘Time Between Us’ at Serenbe Playhouse. (courtesy Serenbe Playhouse)