In mid-March of 2020, the cast and crew of “This Random World” were preparing for their opening weekend at Schenectady Civic Playhouse in the city’s historic Stockade neighborhood.
But growing concerns about COVID-19 put a quick halt to those plans and the production was shelved.
On Nov. 12, it will be taken down off that shelf, 20 months later.
Steven Dietz’s “This Random World,” directed by Cristine M. Loffredo, will play from Nov. 12-21 at Schenectady Civic Players, 12 South Church St., opening the playhouse’s 2021-22 season.
“It’s been a long haul,” Loffredo said Wednesday. “I lost two cast members right at the middle of COVID; they moved out of state — one to Florida and one to Maine. I cast another person in one of those slots and she moved to Nashville.
“Every time I get a text or email or phone call, I say, ‘Oh, please God, tell me that they’re not moving.’ ”
In addition to replacing some cast members, there was also some shifting of roles. Sara Paupini was originally in the role of Claire but is now playing the part of Beth.
“I don’t want to put this off for another two years,” said Loffredo with a laugh. “I keep my fingers crossed and hope [the actors] all show up tonight for the first read-through.
“I really love this play, it’s got a good message, it’s sweet. I really want people to see it.”
Looking back to March of 2020, Loffredo said, “We literally closed the theater on a Tuesday evening and my show was supposed to go up on a Friday.
“Who knew if I would have these same people back. I had wonderful actors to begin with.”
Loffredo said safety measures will be in effect regarding COVID-19.
“Masks are required and [attendees] need to show proof of vaccination,” she said. “There will be a sign-in sheet for contact tracing, so we are going through the process of trying to make everyone safe in the theater.
“Cast and crew and all of our staff, ushers, box office, everyone [will be] masked. And everyone is vaccinated already,” said Loffredo.
“This Random World,” one of the latest written by playwright Dietz, is an area premier.
Promotional material from the Civic Players provides a synopsis:
“We want to believe that serendipity brings us together, but is that just a myth? Mining the comedy of missed connections, ‘This Random World’ asks the serious question of how often we travel parallel paths through the world without noticing.
“From an ailing woman who plans one final trip, to her daughter planning one great escape and her son falling prey to a prank gone wrong, this funny, intimate, and heartbreaking play explores the lives that may be happening just out of reach of our own.”
A review on Arts-Louisville.com says, “The play is fast and funny, delivering constant comedy that comes from the characters and their foibles, including numerous instances of the laughter that comes from a place of painful self recognition.”
The Civic Players cast features Sara Paupini as Beth Ward, Jason Biszick as Tim Ward, Joanne Westervelt as Scottie Ward, Karen Kolterman as Bernadette, Gabriel Hage as Gary, Laura Graver as Claire and Jennifer VanIderstyne as Rhonda.
Friday and Saturday curtains are at 8 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday curtains are at 7:30 pm., and Sundays are matinees only at 2:30 pm.
Schenectady Civic Players, the area’s oldest, longest running, continually operating community theater, will stage three other productions for its 94th season. They are:
— “Marjorie Prime,” by Jordan Harrison and directed by Tony Pallone, Jan. 21-30, 2022.
— “The Cake,” by Bekah Brunstetter and directed by Sara Paupini, March 19-27, 2022.
— “Agatha Cristie’s Murder on the Orient Express” (adapted by Ken Ludwig), directed by Kris Anderson, May 13-22, 2022.
Season subscriptions, or re-subscriptions, for all four plays are $65. Single tickets cost $20 each. Call Schenectady Civic Players at 518-382-2081 or visit www.civicplayers.org for more information.