North by Northwest Theatre Company has done it again. I guess really the only excuse I have for not seeing all of their shows is that I don't get out much. Thanks, Karen!
I played Maggie in this, back in the day, so all the memories of that production were hovering around. That, plus the whole idea of Death is something I've dealt with personally in the not-too-distant past. In other words, I've learned a thing or two since I played the role.
I have to say that every word of this finely-crafted script rings true.
But, for truth to be heard, the words have to be spoken with honesty and loyalty, not to mention talent. Every member of this ensemble is right there.
Three stories sort of weave in and out of each other on the small stage at City Theatre. The set, designed by Kyle Evans and Andrea' Smith, is simple and beautiful, and makes the most of the space. For this to be effective requires some pretty much awesome lighting, designed by Amy Lewis. I didn't see anyone credited with costuming in the program, but the costumes are excellent, as well. From Maggie's uncomfortable-looking "dressed up for the plane" outfit, to Felicity and Agnes in shades of blue, to the delightfully tawdry gown that is the tapestry of Maggie's life, who ever put this together nailed it. Though I would have Agnes wear a slip...but that's just me.
The ensemble is tight and the show plays like spoken music, culminating in the nicely orchestrated epilogue, where words are tossed, seemingly at random, from voice to voice.
David Dunlap is wonderful as Joe, the guy who has worked his butt off all his life and feels he has nothing to show for it. Aleta Garcia as Maggie...I just wanted to give her a hug and some Prozac. Kenton Miscoe plays Steve, their son who cusses like an Australian sailor. Felicity (Anne Putnam) keeps the pain at bay by singing bawdy songs, much to the consternation of her faithful daughter, Agnes (Miriam Rubin), who is beginning to wonder if she can take much more. Robert Salas, as Brian, creates a writer-dilettante of charming proportions. Think what you would have had if Cary Grant had played James Bond. Yeah. Like that. Dave Butts brings to his character, Mark, an intensity I can't help but relate to. Which brings me to Beverly. I have seen Michelle Cheney on stage several times, and she never fails to delight and impress. Her Beverly is the Elemental earth goddess, from her henna hair and tattered gown, stuck with all the glittering jewels that are mementos of her numerous lovers, to her relentless wisecracks.
I really can't tell you a lot more about it without spoiling the stories, so I will just say, "see it." Tickets are at the link at the top. Be prepared to laugh, but bring tissues.