"It's a nice little play. So delicate," was the way Adian Hall described "Sea Marks," playing at Trinity Square Repertory Company in Providence, R.I.
But then 10 days ago Roger Stevens, chairman of the Kennedy Center, called Hall -- the director of the company -- and asked him whether he would like to take his play out of the 300-seat Providence theater where it was playing and put in the lofty Eisenhower Theater of the Kennedy Center.
"I said, 'Maybe the Eisenhower is too big,'" Hall recalled, "and he said, 'Bull----. I'll send someone down tonight to see it.'"
So Hall packed up his intimate two-person drama and brought it to Washington.And after last night's preview the ecstatic Trinity Company director found himself standing in the middle of the living room in Bruce and Joy Sundlun's sleek Georgetown town house.
Somewhere near a hundred other people joined him for the buffet dinner, crowding into the house, some spilling out onto the patio, some literally stepping out onto the tarpaulin pulled over the swimming pool.
"One actually got across," said Gardner McKay, who stood outside on the patio. McKay, who lives in Beverly Hills, writes plays -- "Sea Marks" among them -- and some years ago acted in a TV show called "Adventures in Paradise."
"It was a very short part of my life," he said, smiling ruefully.
The director of "Sea Marks," George Martin, could not make it last night. He was playing in "Waiting for Godot" in Providence at the Trinity Square Repertory Company. "That's the way repertory works," said Hall.
But several cheerful Trinity fans came in from Providence for the preview.
"I go to New York to see them open there," said David Shwaery, a Providence businessman.
"It made me cry," said Judith Kosterlitz of Providence to cast member Timothy crowe.
Crowe had been rehearsing since 8:30 yesterday morning and came back to the apartment where he is staying, seeking a nap. But he never got it, he explained, because repairmen were fixing a garbage disposal in the next apartment.
"It's a thrill and an honor and everything for us to be at the Kennedy Center," said the other cast members, Mina Manente, who is married to Crowe. "We certainly don't want to fail. I guess that remains to be seen."
"It was an upcurve if you diagrammed the play," said Bruce Sundlun, who sits on the board of Trinity Square Repertory Company. "By the end I very much enjoyed it." Sundlun is president of the Outlet company in Providence, and president of Ocean State Performing Arts Center. "That's Providence's small imitation of the Kennedy Center," said Sundlun. "
"But we're profitable."