Myra Stephens can easily finish the daily crossword puzzles in The Tennessean. Ditto the ones in The Washington Post. But, she admits, "I have a little trouble with The New York Times."
And while Stephens likes her crosswords, that's not why she chose to put on Jerry Mayer's 2 Across, a romantic-comedy play following Janet and Josh, puzzle-doers and polar opposites, who are stuck on an 82-minute train commute. "It's the interaction," she says. "The puzzles just made it fun."
Stephens leads Theatre-Lite, which presents stripped-down productions designed to require little in the way of costumes and props and to encourage the audience's imagination. Fairy Tale Confidential, her original play about the darker side of fairy-tale heroines, ran in January at Beignet Café.
2 Across presents Stephens with a different type of puzzle to solve: directing herself. She plays Janet, and her husband Jonathan plays Josh. "It's extremely difficult," she says. "You can't step back and look at what you're creating."
Stephens says that her husband has helped with the pacing of Janet and Josh's verbal tug-of-war. "We're doing it," she says. "We're ready."