ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Buddy is a 21-year-old virgin. His older brother Alan is a ladies’ man.
Desperate for independence, Buddy leaves home and moves in with his swinging ’60s sibling, much to the consternation of his parents.
“Come Blow Your Horn,” Neil Simon’s coming-of-age springboard to Broadway, is playing at the Adobe Theater.
Simon’s 1961 semiautobiographical play is the story of two brothers working for their father, who sells wax fruit. Buddy wants to write plays. His father says wax fruit provides a more stable future. “Plays can close,” he says, “TV you turn off. Wax fruit lays in a bowl till you’re 100.” Add to this mix a mother adept at emotional manipulation and prone to hysterics.
Simon encapsulates a time before the Beatles, the assassinations and the Vietnam War roiled a nation still floating on Camelot.
“Back in those days, at 21 you didn’t move out,” director Marty Epstein said. “You didn’t do it without Mom and Dad really taking offense.”
Buddy’s conflict with the father who thinks he knows best forges the story’s nexus.
Along the way, Simon throws in familiar parent-adult child irritants like being ordered to eat a cupcake over the sink.
“Mom says, ‘You can’t leave home. Who’s going to fix your meals for you?’ ” Epstein said.
Soon Buddy starts behaving like the womanizing Alan. Their parents pressure the elder sibling to get married as he bounces among girlfriends.
Then Alan falls in love.
“Alan becomes the father,” Epstein said. “They play strip Scrabble at the parties and he says, ‘What are you doing?’ ”