|Steven R. White as Becky's quirky co-worker Steve|
Webster’s Dictionary defines “midlife crisis” as “a period of emotional turmoil in middle age characterized especially by a strong desire for change.” The classic example is a 50-ish guy buying a shiny new (usually red) sports car. Women can also experience a midlife crisis, and in the case of Becky – the protagonist in Becky’s New Car – she is actually in the business of selling cars. When Walter, an eccentric older millionaire, wanders into her dealership offering to buy several new cars, he offers Becky the opportunity to embark on a journey that brings her own midlife crisis into stark focus.
In the Farmington Players’ production, Steven White plays Becky’s co-worker Steve, who is going through his own midlife crisis. Steven describes Steve as “a restless, jumpy character who talks a lot, as if everything was about him. His insecurity and obsession extends to the recent loss of his wife, who he often refers to in the play.” Steven draws on his own experiences with people at work or in social situations to develop his character: “The challenge for me is to find that neurotic energy that the character possesses and to apply it to the role. My past work environment and experience has given me some ideas. Many years ago, I worked with a guy who always made the coffee and who was the first one in the parking lot after work. Sort of manic meets control freak. I have borrowed some of his mannerisms for this part.”
Steven also thinks that having life experience and being middle-aged himself helps him understand the role better, saying, “I wouldn’t have understood what a midlife crisis was when I was 20. Playing a man in his 50’s helps me to empathize with Becky and attempt for me to inhabit the role of her co-worker more fully.” Without giving too much away, Becky’s midlife crisis focuses on her choice between her married, maternal life and the expensive, exotic alternative that Walter offers. Becky faces a moral dilemma and while we root for her, she is not your typical protagonist. Steven says that Steve “likes Becky but is trying to get her to consider the risks. She is facing a real challenge and Steve knows she can’t really pull it off. However, I think the audience (especially the women) will identify with Becky and her dilemma.”
Steven grew up in Inkster and has had a long teaching career including stops in Alaska, at the University of Arizona, the University of Texas-El Paso, Michigan State University and Michigan Technological University. In his spare time, he enjoys fly fishing in the U.P., anywhere quiet, and Americana music.
Becky’s New Car opens at the Farmington Players Barn Theater on February 10 with nine performances through February 25. The show is proudly sponsored by Cadillac Travel. Tickets are available online at farmingtonplayers.org or by emailing email@example.com or calling the Barn box office at 248-553-2955.