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And Neither Have I Wings to Fly
The play opens a week before Kathleen's wedding to Leo, a handsome stolid working-class boy who is thrilled to be offered a job with a future by Kathleen's father, Peter. Kathleen is equally thrilled by the unexpected appearance of an old flame, actor Freddy Malone, who is playing Hamlet at a local theatre. Kathleen glows, giggles and looks beautiful while Evvie stomps crossly around doing all the work. These are roles the sisters have played for so long that they're like second skins but Noble gives them facets. Though credited to other family members, it's Evvie who made her sister's favorite dress and held her mother Moira's hand as she lay dying. Kathleen displays a touching vulnerability, seeking Evvie's opinion desperately and, in an uncharacteristic burst of anger, turns on her father for always taking gleeful pleasure in her foolish mistakes.
There are several unexpected visitors. Leo's feckless brother Charley, who has left home and drifted around the country for years, comes home for the wedding. He's charming, bright and smart enough to fall in love with Evvie, whose sharp retorts show a mind equal to his. The second surprise is the ghost of Moira, visible only to Evvie. She may be the incarnation of Evvie's indecision, symbolized by the offer of a scholarship from University College Dublin which she hides in one of her mother's beloved books.
Evvie has a three-fold conflict: the scholarship, Charley's declaration of love and her feeling of responsibility for her grief-stricken father. Kathleen's conflict is simpler, but no less thorny: whether to run off with the dashing actor who makes her laugh or face a lifetime of secure boredom with stolid Leo.
Noble writes well-rounded characters, even the minor ones. Moira, whose role basically reflects Evvie's anxieties, is given warm and empathetic life by Taylor Gilbert. Gilbert brings this ghost to life by the quality of her expressive silence. Leon Russum is superb as Peter, ranging from a raging patriarch to a lonely widower who closes the show singing the song he and Moira sang together. His Irish accent is impeccable, in a production whose accents vary.
Stephanie Stearns is a delightful Kathleen, turning coy into delicious and flirtatiousness into the best kind of acting. The playwright herself plays Evvie. It's a surprising characterization from an actress of passion and charm whose expression can range from fierceness to a pixieish smile of delight, And who knows the character better than its author? Not us. Nolan pulls from an actor's grab bag of tricks, walking stiff-kneed like a little girl, crossing her waspish anger and frustration with implausible moments of delighted laughter. These surface distractions don't serve the character well and distance the audience. It's a performance that makes us want to see more of her in something else.
Mark St. Amant plays Charlie, the wanderer, with rakish vividness. Mark Doerr's hammy actor brings out the worst in Kathleen and is obviously going to bring out bad girls all over Ireland. His soliloquy from Hamlet is a masterpiece of a good actor playing a bad one. Danny Vasquez finds the truth in Leo, a man who is all cake and no icing.Director Scott Cummins has a sensitivity to pace that serves the play well against Desma Murphy's set, which conveys the warmth of Moira's personality.
Easy-on-the budget super gift for yourself and your musical loving friends. Tons of gorgeous pictures.
Leonard Maltin's 2007 Movie Guide