New York City
Present Laughter, by Noel Coward, is a farcical comedy about Garry Essendine, an aging matinee idol who may be teetering reluctantly towards middle age, though everyone – both male and female – is infatuated with him. Flamboyant and witty, wearing a silk dressing gown and equipped with the requisite cocktail, Garry’s life is one long performance in which he can never be himself. About to set off on an extended tour of Africa, Essendine is visited by practically everyone he knows, including his ex wife/manager, lawyer, secretary, butler, business partners, an admiring young playwright and a recent one night stand. An acknowledged self-portrait of the playwright himself, Present Laughter is a marvelously comic exaggeration of the life that whirled around Coward in his heyday.