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The cast of Stardust PlayhouseÕs ÒYouÕve Got Hate Mail,Ó Bob Lindall, Tatum Tollner, Taylor Thorngate, Alex Bristow and Adam Kinkade, from left. The comedy opens Friday in Monterey.

The characters in "You've Got Hate Mail" are young, urban professional types, using modern methods to hide secret lives.

So it makes sense that modern technology proves their undoing.

"They're involved in all sorts of illicit office romances," laughed director Judie Swartz, who along with her daughter, Kirsten Clapp, runs Stardust Playhouse in Monterey.

"You've Got Hate Mail" premieres Friday at the Stardust Playhouse in Monterey. It runs through March 11.

The play revolves around Richard, played with high energy by local actor Bob Lindall.

A "slimy cheater," Richard is cheating on wife Wanda (Taylor Thorngate) with his co-worker Wanda (Tatum Tollner).

Wanda's best friend Peg (Alex Bristow) provides comic relief while offering support. Richard's sidekick George (Adam Kinkade) also factors into the madness.

The play is stitched together from emails and text messages that unspool more lies and deceit. It's the brainchild of comedy writing duo Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmour.

"The whole thing takes place through the use of technology," said Swartz.

Swartz selected the script after initially pursuing a more serious piece, the play "Love Letters" by A.R. Gurney.

"That's a sad and poignant love story told through love letters," said Swartz. "As we were looking, we found something that had a little homage to 'Love Letters,' and my instincts were to do something funnier."

"You've Got Hate Mail" follows fresh in the tracks of "The Marijuana-Logues," the playhouse's first official production.


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Both plays are biting, adult-themed comedies. Swartz insists that's not necessarily the company's aim.

"We like to do more unique work. We're not necessarily looking to do children's theater or anything like that," she said. "We're geared more toward, I don't want to say edgy, but certainly more adult audiences. We like a lot of different types of drama and comedy pieces that aren't seen very often."

Marc Cabrera can be reached at mcabrera@montereyherald.com. GO!


THEATER OPENING
·What: Stardust Playhouse presents "You've Got Hate Mail"
·Where: Stardust Playhouse, 2115 N. Fremont St., Suite C, Monterey
·When: Opens at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24; continues at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays, through March 11
·Tickets: $15, available at 402-8940, www.stardustplayhousemonterey.com
·Information: 402-8940, www.stardustplayhousemonterey.com