Rock Hill playwright Terry Roueche does not attempt to emulate John Updike, whose stories of extra-marital affairs among modern suburbanites appeared in The New Yorker magazine, and in his novel "Couples."
Instead, Roueche's tightly woven drama, "Discretion," performed Monday at Lance Hall as part of Piccolo Spoleto, takes a love/passion triangle a step further, and leaves you desperate to know more.
The play, depicting a long-married couple whose loyalty is threatened when the wife becomes infatuated with a younger man, is directed by Mark Mixson.
The white wine flows in a lovely living room as an older woman flirts outrageously with a much younger man, who flirts right back.
College teacher Claire has taken Richard, the new "temp" professor under her wing. Soon, we learn that Claire's husband of more than 20 years, Philip, is asleep in their bedroom. When Philip comes into the room, he seems surprised that Claire invited Richard in for a late night drink.
Boogie Dabney is ideal as Richard, who shamelessly flatters Claire, and Pamela Nichols Galle successfully portrays her as a woman who loves her husband, but wants something more. Although Philip, the hardworking, often absent, husband, played beautifully low-key by Mark Landis, may appear to be a stereotype, he isn't. When Philip confronts Claire, he reveals that once he contemplated an affair with a young, female intern at his company, and knows how she feels. It's just one of this play's many unexpected turns.