Saturday, April 21, 2007

Theatre Conspiracy has been producing "cutting edge" plays at the Foulds Theatre for thirteen years now and I've been supporting their efforts since I first saw a powerful rendering of Equus about ten years ago. Sadly, the Conspiracy's contract will not be renewed, yet ironically, last night I attended one of their finest works to date.
The Dunes, written by Craig Pospisil and winner of this year's new play contest, is a very satisfying evening of theatre. Lightly based on Chekov's The Cherry Orchard (I'll now have to go reread that!), the action centers around a rambling old summer home in the Hamptons with enough property and views of the sea to protect it from the McMansions that are popping up all over the place. It is here that an aging diva comes with her family to lick her wounds upon realizing that she's been left bankrupt by a scheming husband. Unable to land a meaty role to beef up her bank accounts, Laura deals with her problems by putting her head in the sand and allowing the burden of worry to fall on her responsible step-daughter Vanessa who's recently become engaged to an investment broker.
As the summer heats up, the light, familial bonhomie soon deteriorates and long-held resentments boil to the surface. The actors play off each other so well, keeping the script's realistic dialogue moving along at a perfect pace. The set is one of the more sophisticated that I've seen at Theatre Conspiracy. I highly recommend this play to local readers.

Meanwhile, I've got an addendum to my assessment of Black Swan Green. It's not all lightness and laughs but don't let that turn you off. There's a lot going on in this book, not least of which is the British conflict in the Falklands and its effects on the families of Black Swan Green. The author also does a marvelously poignant job of examining the slow deterioration of a marriage through the eyes of Jason Taylor and his sister. Jason, too, is the subject of much cold blooded adolescent teasing because he has a stammer for which he sees a speech therapist. His revenge is that, under an inventive pseudonym, he writes delightful poetry which is published in the vicarage newsletter. Like I said, there's a lot going on here!

More about next year's book discussion line up next week.

1 comment:

Ann said...

I am going out to get our book on cd of Black Swan Green. Love to laugh outloud on 41!