Ed Marmut, 18, and his girlfriend, Colleen Roberts, 19, winners of Two River Theater’s “Newlywed Game,” one of the theater’s pre-show events. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Ed Marmut and his girlfriend, Colleen Roberts, didn’t have much doubt as they walked into the Two River Theater last month that they were going to leave as winners. Their confidence bordered on hubris.
“So, how long have you two been together?” redbankgreen asked the couple, of Tinton Falls, before a round of “The Newlywed Game” was staged in the theater lobby.
“One year, two months and nine days,” Marmut, 18, said with confidence and a starry gaze into Roberts’ eyes that could make you want to cry or gag.
The abbreviated version of the old TV game show was the most recent pre-theater entertainment offering at TRT, in this case for the run of “Barefoot In The Park.” But it’s just one of a number of enticements by the the venue to draw in theatergoers, says Sean Murphy, the theater’s marketing manager.
The couple celebrate their victory. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)
In the past, TRT staffers have put on skits and offered tango lessons. Currently, for “Orestes: A Tragic Romp,” which is running to rave reviews, there’s a guided conversation about the House of Atreus to offer insight into the family that the Euripides play is based on.
The idea is to give the audience a look into the background of the plays and how the production of them comes together, Murphy said. Or, in the case of the Newlywed Game, just offer up some yuks.
Quite unlike the Newlywed Game, Murphy said Orestes’ pre-play show is more “a proctored little lecture.”
Topping the interaction level of the Newlywed Game is a tall order.
For each play, Murphy got hold of four couples they didn’t necessarily have to be newly wed, or, as evidenced by Marmut and Roberts, wed at all to participate before ‘Barefoot.’ On a Saturday night showing of the play redbankgreen attended, a large group of spectators filed into the lobby of the theater to catch the night’s four couples prove their knowledge of each other.
Murphy asked questions such as, ‘What is your pet name for your partner?’ and ‘What is their dream job?’ And, although Marmut and Roberts would go on to win handily, it took an unexpected turn right at the start, when Murphy asked Marmut to answer who his celebrity crush was.
“Uh, does it have to be a girl?” Marmut asked, instantly triggering Roberts to throw her hands up and blush as the audience let out a collective, “huh?”
The crowd was treated to other laugh-worthy nuggets of personal details, like the woman who revealed that her husband had the odd habit of clipping his toenails on the coffee table. Another husband had a propensity to sing while using the bathroom, and his wife has been putting up with it for nearly 35 years.
And despite his Freudian faux pas, Marmut and Roberts came away the clear winners, only getting a couple of questions about each other wrong. They kissed, then received their grand prize: two tickets for a future show at the theater and free dinner and drinks at Danny’s Steak House. Not a bad end to the night, Marmut said, although they aren’t old enough to cash in on the drinks.
“We’ll get free Dr. Pepper,” he said. “It’s alright.”
You can catch Orestes’ pre-play production 45 minutes before showtime, and you can check the schedule here. Orestes runs at the Two River Theater until April 11.