Pets unite two lonely people in ‘Chapatti’ at North Coast Rep in Solana Beach

Does romance wane as we age? Does true love come but once in a lifetime? Irish playwright Christian O’Reilly must have pondered these questions when creating the comedy “Chapatti,” which has its West Coast premiere Oct. 21-Nov. 15 at the North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach.

Judith Ivey directs the production that tells the tale of two senior citizens who are alone until they meet each other and discover they have some of the same interests.

Ivey, a two-time Tony Award winner for “Steaming” and “Hurlyburly,” said she was excited to get a call from NCRT’s artistic director David Edelstein about directing “Chapatti.”

“I grow fonder of this play every day we work on it,” Ivey said. “It’s a beautiful piece of writing, and tells a wonderful story — one that if I was not directing, I would want to see.”

Ivey said she found the perfect actors to portray this intimate story.

“Because it’s an Irish play, and I’m a stickler for dialect, when I started casting I was fortunate to find two people who had beautiful Irish dialects,” Ivey said. “Also, I knew the characters needed certain qualities. It was the vulnerability … someone stalwart … even feeling cut off from the universe … that I was looking for, because that’s what the story is about.”

As it unfolds, Dan (Mark Bramhall) is much more sensitive than he appears. He has lost the wife he dearly loved and adopts a dog he names Chapatti, and then decides to go to London.

Now settled in with his dog, Dan visits the local veterinarian to find a dog-sitter. While there, he meets Betty (Anabella Price), who is looking to have some of her 19 cats adopted.

“An event brings them together again as the story about protecting ourselves from being lonely turns into a surprise that has Betty and Dan feeling an attraction for each other,” Ivey said. “But it’s not necessarily easy to put all those guards down, along with all those habits and the things that come with having lived by yourself for a long time.”

Will Dan overcome his depression? Will Betty be willing to change Dan’s life and her own? Discover the answers and see how their animal pals influence this couple in “Chapatti.”

“Chapatti” runs Oct. 21-Nov. 15 at the North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Solana Beach. Tickets from $39; call 858-481-1055; visit northcoastrep.org.

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