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Car Man

Steven Dietz discusses his world premiere play at ACT, Becky's New Car.

Kimberly King and Michael Winters in Becky's New Car
(© Chris Bennion)
Becky's New Car marks playwright Steven Dietz's ninth production at Seattle's A Contemporary Theatre (ACT), and his fifth world premiere with the company. "Much of the story of my career in the last 20 years started right here," says Dietz. "This theater has launched many of the plays I'm known for, so it's a great honor and challenge to write for this theater and this audience, which is demanding and hungry for new work. What could be better than that?"

This latest work -- which is the inaugural play in ACT's "New Works for the American Stage" program -- centers on a woman named Becky Foster (played by Kimberly King), who has a job at an auto dealership, a husband, and a freeloading son, but can't stop the nagging suspicion that she's missed out on something. "I was interested in exploring the corners of our life that we sometimes don't walk into," says Dietz. "In some ways this is a road-not-taken play -- a woman in midlife has an opportunity to make a turn and live a different life. In other plays, I've been intrigued by the question: what secrets about ourselves are we keeping, that we talk ourselves out of or rationalize away? There's something bittersweet in the play; this woman has to make choices to have new and different things in her life, and we're counting on that to produce the comedy."

While this is the first time Dietz has worked with King, he's had longstanding professional relationships with several of the other cast members -- including Charles Leggett, R. Hamilton Wright, Michael Winters, and Suzanne Bouchard. "I would never have done this had I not known this group of Seattle actors," he says. "I've written very dark political plays, but people who write plays understand that one of the tricky things to pull off and aspire to is to put a group of terrific actors on stage and put forth a comedy that matches their skills."

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