Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite at Melville Theatre, Western Australia

THEY say good things come in threes – and Melville Theatre’s latest play not only has three acts but also three directors.

Written by Neil Simon, Plaza Suite features the bittersweet and hilarious stories of three couples staying in suite 719 of New York’s Plaza Hotel.

One couple’s long marriage is showing some wear and tear; high school sweethearts meet again after 17 years; and another couple deal with their daughter’s wedding day.

Neil Simon is famed for writing The Odd Couple, Barefoot in the Park, Sweet Charity, The Last of the Red Hot Lovers and Biloxi Blues.

Overall creative director, producer and Melville Theatre president Susan Lynch said it made sense to use three directors for the show.

“Plaza Suite is essentially written as if they are three self-contained plays,” she said. “The theatre has a lot of talented members and this allows three of them to shine as directors.

“They are sharing ideas and progressing with each other as they go along, bringing the humour out of the script.

“My role is to coordinate the overall production and make sure the show works well as one whole.”

Clare Talbot is the director of act one, also known as A Visitor from Mamaroneck.

“I have directed many plays through my teaching career, Fringe World and university but not in this space and am excited about working with the other directors,” she said.

“I’m intrigued to explore the relationships between the characters and develop a production that shows authenticity to the emotional connection between them while also delivering the comic aspects of the play.”

Michelle Sharp directs act two of Plaza Suite, called A Visitor From Hollywood.

“I found the underlying story of first love and two people finding their way back to each other after years apart touching, so this is what we have focused on,” she said.

“We’ve also been working on the adapting the physical jokes so they work for a modern audience.”

Siobhán O’Gara is directing act three, A Visitor From Forest Hills.

“It’s a good opportunity to work with a celebrated script by a highly regarded playwright, which has proven longevity and is still loved by audiences after all these decades,” she said.

“Neil Simon is remembered for his comedies but his plays are also dramas so the challenge is honouring the humour without losing the essential message of the play.”

Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite plays at 7.30pm February 17, 18, 24, March 2, 3 and 4; 5pm February 19 and 25; and 2pm February 26. Tickets are $23, $18 concession – book at www.TAZTix.com.au.

Melville Theatre is at 393A Canning Highway (corner of Stock Road), Palmyra.