The Hippo


Jun 3, 2020








Meg Oolders, one of the cast members in Not Last Night … But the Night Before! Courtesy photo.

Not Last Night … But the Night Before!

Where: West End Studio Theatre, 959 Islington St., Portsmouth
When: Feb. 24-March 12, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m., plus a special matinee performance Saturday, March 11, at 4 p.m.
Tickets: $20
Contact: 978-683-7745

Comedy writing
Hosker-Bouley’s latest at West End Studio Theatre

By Kelly Sennott

Next up for local company Carpe Diem Inc. is the New Hampshire premiere of Not Last Night … But the Night Before! by George Hosker-Bouley. It hits the West End Studio Theatre stage Feb. 24 and stars the author himself.

If you know Seacoast theater, you probably know or have at least heard of Hosker-Bouley. He writes and produces original plays for the Portsmouth stage every year and is the brains behind the annual Dickens of a Christmas play at the Old Salt Restaurant in Hampton and the Portsmouth Underbelly Tour, among many, many other theater ventures. Last year, he was involved in 19 different shows.
Hosker-Bouley wrote his first plays more than 25 years ago because, as an actor, he couldn’t find parts that interested him anymore. 
“By the time I had gotten to be 27, 28 years old, I had done The Sound of Music six times. I had done My Fair Lady and Oklahoma and Arsenic and Old Lace,” Hosker-Bouley said via phone last week. 
The narratives he came up with were unusual for local theater at the time, with flamboyant, gay and transgender characters and plot lines that pushed boundaries and buttons. Things are a little different now.
“I had to move to Massachusetts to marry my husband 10 years ago, so things have changed a lot. I think now everything is open. Everybody writes about everything. There are no boundaries anymore,” Hosker-Bouley said.
But he still likes to write original work, history being one of his favorite topics, and Not Last Night … But the Night Before! brings viewers back to World War II. It follows Colin Ryerson, a suburban husband unhappy in his marriage — and actually, his entire living situation. His brother, who is married to his wife’s sister, resides next door, and both mothers live close by too.
“It’s an Everybody Loves Raymond kind of scenario. We’re all at each other’s houses and in each other’s lives,” said Meg Oolders, one of the show’s cast members via phone.
Colin has always wanted to live a life of adventure, and since he can’t in the real world, he does so by writing a spy novel set during the German occupation in France. The one problem is that Colin’s fictional characters are interfering with his real life. 
Dispersed among the action are tunes from the period, like “It Had to Be You,” “I’ll Be Seeing You,” “Louise” and “You Made Me Love You,” and in leading roles are Oolders, Hosker-Bouley plus some new and familiar faces to Carpe Diem Inc., including Katy Hunt, Anne Rehner, Carol Seely, Norm Smith and Ken Stiles.
Oolders has known Hosker-Bouley since the second grade, when she was cast as a lullaby league singer in Hampton Centre School’s production of The Wizard of Oz. She continued to work with him throughout high school and college in Prescott Park productions, which he ran as its executive and artistic director for 13 years, and his originals. 
Hosker-Bouley said working as a Portsmouth Herald reporter for over a decade was helpful in his development as a playwright — it taught him to write tight and fast — and so was his experience interning at the Hampton Playhouse as a teen and 20-something. Oolders said she enjoys performing in his plays because he frequently writes stories to fit the actors he wants to work with. Plus, “He’s very good at comedy,” she said.
Hosker-Bouley said the comedy writing is something he works hard at. One reason he joined Facebook was to regularly post “bad puns.” He takes pride in the fact he never uses a joke more than once. The cornier and more ridiculous, the better.
“I specifically put one joke in every show I’ve ever had that is so incredibly awful that unless people groan and almost boo, I don’t feel as if I’ve succeeded,” he said, laughing. 

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