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Spanish playwright examines our intimate relationships in new play in D.C.

Happily Ever After, a thought-provoking play at the Ambassador Theater chronicles the relationships of three male-female couples of different ages, features Doug Krehbel and Karin Rosnizeck.
Happily Ever After, a thought-provoking play at the Ambassador Theater chronicles the relationships of three male-female couples of different ages, features Doug Krehbel and Karin Rosnizeck.
Courtesy of Ambassador Theater

Washington, D.C. --- The world premiere of Happily Ever After, a thought-provoking play by Spanish playwright Cristina Colmena, opens Thursday at the Ambassador Theater’s Mead Theater Lab at Flashpoint, 916 G Street NW.

Happily Ever After grapples with relationships of couples – love, marriage and the battle of the sexes -- and how they struggle and stagnate over time despite the best of intentions. But are all relationships doomed?

The play chronicles the relationships of three male-female couples of different ages. The audience observes the couples through relationship periods where the characters want to be happy but they do not know how.

The audience finds young lovers bound by a powerful attraction yet destined to part; cynical middle-aged one-night standers failing to act on a promising encounter; and an older, deeply unhappy couple keeping up appearances after 30 years of marriage.

As Eliza Anna Falk, Ambassador Theater’s literary manager, points out: “All three relationships are sabotaged by the inability of the characters to act on their true needs due to fear and insecurity, a behavior an average adult can most likely relate to. ‘These scenes are only snapshots of love stories, or better said, un-love stories,’ says the author [Colmena], who also writes, that the characters ‘could be anyone of us at some moment of our lives: We recognize these people, sometimes they even say the same things that we say.’”

This play is not to be glossed over lightly. It is stimulating thought for deep thinkers which will hopefully encourage us to re-examine and hopefully improve our own relationships.

The compelling dark comedy and its high emotional resonance present a chance for self-reflection and an opportunity to learn from the characters' mistakes. All three un-love stories are poignant reminders that if we keep sitting on the fence, fearful and pessimistic, happiness may never come.

As Falk so elegantly states, “Cynicism around declarations such as till death do us part is on the increase, especially in the western world where high divorce rates deter many from tying the knot. However, despite love’s tricky nature and significant shifts in sexual and marriage behavior in the last decades, love and relationships continue to be of primary importance to majority of western population. With the desire for romance and companionship comes a wish to know how to attract and keep a perfect match, a wish so intense it drives us to look for advice promising what’s best for us. A new paradigm of amour based on self-love and positive thinking has emerged in recent times, supported by the ancient Law of Attraction telling us that ‘we attract what we are’ and that in order to be loved we have to first learn how to love ourselves.”

The play, Falk points out, “delivers a valuable opportunity to reflect on love and its challenges, and to learn from mistakes made by unlucky lovers.”

The production features Karin Rosnizeck as “She” and Doug Krehbel as “He” and is directed by Hanna Bondarewska. The play is produced by the Ambassador Theater in partnership with the Embassy of Spain and its program, SPAIN arts and culture.

The play was written by Colmena in 2013. She is a writer and playwright born in Spain, who has lived in New York since 2010. She writes film reviews, articles and short stories. She published a collection of short stories, La amabilidad de los extraños (The Kindness of Strangers). Her plays, Typing and Happily Ever After were included in the New Plays from Spain series as part of the PEN World Voices Festival 2013.

The play runs through March 30. Please see the Ambassador Theater website for details. The opening is scheduled for Thursday. Colmena will be available for Q&A after March 12, 13 and 14’s programs.