Indiana Repertory Theatre
Directed by James Still
IRT's new production has a better back story than a stage story. A Seattle businessman commissioned Steven Dietz to write "Becky's New Car" as a birthday present for his wife. Another Dietz play will open next week at the Phoenix Theatre, a planned Indy double spotlight on the playwright. "Becky's New Car," though, is just another lighthearted story about a married woman who finds a man to shake out midlife's doldrums. The opening night crowd seemed charmed by the hokey way Becky talks directly to the audience, inviting theatergoers onstage and passing out Coke. Dietz's dialogue reveals some funny truths, like the way some wives dig for reassurance until they draw blood. Stage spouses Constance Macy and Robert Neal are dear, effectively re-creating the body language of longtime companions. Dietz, however, mostly contents himself with the surface of angst: a grad student son to confound Becky, a widowed coworker to bore her, and a daft millionaire to woo her. The set is heavy-handed without being ironic. Becky's home is as nondescript as an extended stay hotel, while her would-be lover lives on the kind of stone terrace that is built almost exclusively for romance novels. I hold out hope for Phoenix's Dietz production, because I loved IRT's 2008 production of Dietz's "Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure." That was a breezy ride with some fascinating bumps. 635-5252, www.irtlive.com. Through April 11.