Saturday, November 6, 2010

Show #61 "Eleemosynary" at Tacoma Little Theatre

The world of theatre is certainly no respecter of persons. What I mean by that is: no matter how "deserving" or "talented" or "well-respected" you are as an actor, that doesn't necessarily mean you will be showered with opportunity for meaty, challenging roles in theatre.

If you're a female, that usually is the case. If you're a female of a certain age (translation: OLD), that DEFINITELY is the case.

With the majority of coveted roles in theatre belonging to men, it is refreshing to see a play with substance and humor that contradicts this trend. "Eleemosynary" is one such play.

This show calls for 3 females. One of the characters is a teenager, the other is her middle-aged mom, and the third is her grandmother. All three roles are intriguing, unique and filled with wonder. What a gem of an opportunity for some talented actresses.

Tacoma Little Theatre has followed up their season opener "Sleuth" (a show requiring 2 males) with a show that requires 3 females. That's playing fair....I like that.

And these three actresses' "playing" is more than fair. Their acting is terrific. How do I know this? Let me tell you....

First, this is a show about grandmother/mother/daughter relationships. But, in this eccentric family, there really are no genuine relationships. There is mostly controlled chaos and estrangement. How these actresses could keep a show like this together and keep us in the audience engaged in the story is a testament to their craft as actors. Somehow in the midst of relational (and life in general) chaos, we chose to care about these remarkable women.

Secondly, this show has a lot of exposition. The actors speak directly to the audience in long, detailed speeches. In fact, they speak to US more often than they speak to one another. We who are seated in the cushy seats in the auditorium become the unwitting confidantes for these women. If that doesn't make us uncomfortable, it should actually bore us after a while. But it didn't. If anything, I found myself wanting to hear MORE of what these actresses told me.

And finally, I came out of the show feeling as though I had just met 3 new friends. Each character was complete...and I considered each to be someone I knew and (at least to a certain extent) understood. That is remarkable. Hats off to not only the playwright Lee Blessing, but to the well-rounded performers who brought these women to life.

Photograph courtesy of Elliot Weiner

No comments:

Post a Comment