Thursday, August 27, 2009
Curran Theatre Experience
This solid ensemble never missed a beat in taking me from outright laughter to gasps of surprise to shocks of discovery. Timing was impeccable during the three acts. Estelle Parsons plays the matriarch of the Weston family, Violet. Her husband, Beverly Weston, played by Jon DeVines, has decided help is needed in the house to care for Violet. The three daughters all arrive home and what follows is the unwinding of each of their stories and their dysfunction as a family member.
Strong female characters elevate this show to amazing levels of theater. It's not often that plays are written with strong female characters. This show has not one but five. I know several actors who would enjoy the challenge to bring these characters to life.
I was not emotionally drained as I expected to be. Instead, I find myself remembering my own family interactions and gatherings in a new light. My family is not the only one to hide behind humor as a shield against the uncomfortable. Some have described the experience of watching the show as "watching a train wreck." This wasn't true for me. A train wreck happens and I may be pulled to watch, but not become involved. The wreck keeps me as an outsider. August kept pinching me to pay attention and remain connected to the experiences on stage. I became part of the experience at a deeper level.
If you have an opportunity to see the show, you owe it to yourself to go. Our seats were in the rear balcony. I had no complaints about the view. This show is so well written that it kept me engaged all three hours. I would have been willing to stay for more.
The set was a three story house on stage with the first floor cleverly separated into the study, living room and dining room with the kitchen set into the back. The cast moved smoothly during the scene changes so to add the final touches to what just finished (often in dimmed lights) and melt into the next scene. The set dressing and props were an ideal fit to complete the experience. No curtain came down between acts so I got to watch the efficient props changes and resetting of furniture. (I want to be that good on the shows I do props and set dressing. Just sayin')