In this memory play by film/TV star Jim Beaver, a young aspiring actor in 1972 Oklahoma takes a job in a country house ruled over by a fierce woman in a wheelchair. Once a great beauty and felled by a crippling illness, Margaret brooks no nonsense such as self-pity. However, she also demands the same intense devotion and commitment from all who know her.
The mixture of admiration and annoyance that she rouses in this young man dominates the action. When he finds he cannot break away from her spell, his own life grinds to a halt. His fiancé and some other inhabitants of Margaret’s domain are baffled by his loyalty. In the end, it is Margaret herself who frees him from the inertia of his life when she surrenders to the realization of her own condition.
Bravura performance by Sheila Shaw as Margaret, with fine backup by Jim Beaver as her drunkard brother, as well as Adam Conger, Katie Adler, Cal Bartlett, Dylan Vigus, David Mingrino, Ian Lerch and David Goldstein. Sadly, the overacting by Chloe Rosenthal and Corinne Shor was distracting.
Directed with humor by Mark W. Travis, with set design by Jeff G. Rack, lighting by Yancey Dunham, sound by Charlie Mount and costumes by Marjorie Vander Hoff. This Nawyecka Production is produced by Charlie Mount, Jill Jones and Arden Teresa Lewis.
At Theatre West, 3333 Cahuenga Blvd West, Los Angeles, through April 26. Free parking across the street. Tickets: (323) 851-7977 or www.theatrewest.org.
Photos by Charlie Mount.
Note: Funding support for this production came from over 900 supporters of the Verdigris Kickstarter Campaign. Bravo!