For the most part, I enjoyed the costumes for each character. Mary’s comfortable, yet semi-professional clothing she wore to bed seemed to work. Catherine’s bright colors and many accessories fit her eccentric personality. Mike was portrayed as a very important person, a doctor. The suit he wore, a long jacket, leather gloves, all showed that he was in a rather comfortable financial position. Frank’s outfit complemented his not-so-pleased character. It was very down-to-earth, especially in the green and brown colors. And his simple sweater and comfortable corduroy’s showed his lackadaisical perspective on life in general.
I completely loved Vi’s dress to the maximum. It was simple, yet extremely elegant. She was very flowing and graceful in her blue taffeta dress, just as should be implied considering she is of ethereal existence. Her jewelry was very simple and yet appropriate. However, I have not left out Teresa. Teresa’s outfit is the only reason why I do not love the entire costume design. I thought she resembled too much of a bag lady type.
Her sweater seemed more than just one size to big, although her skirt was satisfactory. I also did not appreciate how Teresa’s color scheme somewhat resembled Frank’s outfit. But I do not think that Teresa and Frank, as a married couple, would ever dress similarly on the same occasion. If I were designing the costumes for the show, I would do much of the same overall, but maybe just tweak Teresa’s sweater size and the color of her outfit. I really liked Frank in green and brown, I think Teresa’s scheme could have been something similar, just not as close to Frank’s colors.
While it is a common theory that film is the director’s medium, theatre is then the actor’s medium. I consider that theory to have certain relevance, so in that, I will save the “best” for last, and now discuss the direction of the show. Tom Isbell truly understood every layer of Stephenson’s script. The way he incorporated details to mean so much truly proves his capability and reception of the text. One of the best features he added was how the sisters would tag up and pick on the third one.
They were constantly switching between who was receiving the ridicule, even without the words. But more importantly, the moments when the sisters finally do come together, we truly see that through the blocking of the show. As the sisters argue, they are on differing ends of the room, but as they come to agreement, and realize the loss of their mother, they come together in ways that supersede the actual words on the page. Tom painted a beautiful picture in every scene, the interaction between characters constantly required attention, and the journeys each character takes is worth following. He also cast the show flawlessly, with each character thoroughly represented through each one of the actors on stage.
Mary, played by Kecia Rehkamp, was absolutely the most troubled character throughout the show. The fact that she goes through not only the death of her mother, but the death of her son required some of the hardest emotions to deal with. Not only dealing with death, but the one person that Mary feels for, Mike, cannot even give himself to her, for he is married. Kecia did a brilliant job in showing Mary’s struggles through death and through the lack of commitment from Mike. And she completes her objective, although painfully, in finding that her son is, in fact, dead.
Jessica Davis brought the character of Teresa to a very appropriate existence. Teresa is constantly doing something, having to clean something. But her time to shine comes when Teresa tells about Mary’s child. Teresa is so fed up with Mary’s selfishness, she just lays everything on the table, and completely loses herself in Teresa’s rampage. When she then tells Mary of Patrick’s death, all the weight of the world has fallen, and Mary is left to deal with it, and the way Jessica brings herself to have Teresa tell Mary is completely convicing.
Everyone loves the comic relief, and that is exactly what Annie Ragsdale brings to Catherine. On the outside, it seems as if Catherine is most definitely the most troubled character, and the way Annie brings her own sense of humor to Catherine’s misfortunes is dead accurate. Catherine’s mood throughout the entire show is constantly up and down, up and down, and Annie takes that journey with the character entirely. When Catherine realizes she is the only one alone and throws the jewelry box, Annie conveys such a sense of loss that you truly feel for her character. Catherine’s objective is fairly clear; she just wants to be loved by the people that mean so much to her, even though she might not realize it.
Although she is only on stage for a total of about twenty minutes, Alex Kotlarek’s Vi works fully. The way she hovers over Mary in her scenes is beautiful. But it is truly gripping when Vi decides that it is time she went. Immediately before her exit she lets Mary know that what is done is done, and that Mary must learn the rest on her own. Alex brought a very keen confidence to Vi, one that is required for Vi to earn respect from the audience, and from Mary.
Sometimes easily overlooked, the men in this show were exceptional as well. Mike was played by Andy Frye, and Andy did exactly what he needed to in order to bring the incredibly conflicted character of Mike to life. Andy surely makes it not difficult for the audience to empathize with him, even though he is having an affair. I personally never thought I could tolerate an adulterer, but the feelings that Andy brings to the character of Mike, you must feel sorry for him.
Lastly, Kyle Bosley played the Frank I envisioned when I first read the script. Frank is the man who is completely unhappy with his current situation in life. Usually calm and fairly easy-going, we do not actually see the easy-going part of Frank as much. He is so bothered by his train ride and fed up with work, that all of these feelings finally come toppling down when he tells Teresa about his pub. His objective is clear; all he wants is his own satisfaction and happiness.
It was such an honor to work on this show, a show that you have a range of emotions with. I loved the show, every part of it. All of the design elements complemented each other to the greatest degree. The only major facet I would change, would be Teresa’s costume. Other than that, the show was top notch. Acting was superb, I did not have a hard time believing one of the characters, they all worked together so well. It is not hard to believe they are all dear friends; that can be seen from each character’s chemistry onstage with one another. This is truly a show that has inspired me to become more involved with UMD’s theatre department.