BOOKS and CDs
LETTERS TO EDITOR
by Stanley H. Nemeth
The current offering at the Rude Guerrilla Company, Bob Randall's David's Mother, is unfortunately yet another merely routine dealing-with-disability drama. It is so lacking in subtext that, were its brief bedroom scene excised, it could serve admirably as a heartwarming TV Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation or an Afterschool Playhouse Special.
A spinoff of the far more poignant and dramatically successful The Miracle Worker, which appears to have spawned a whole family of such derivatives, David's Mother places at its center not the overprotected disabled child (here a boy), but the mother whose behavior is destructive not only of this child but of her other family members and even herself. Several teacher-type characters who see the obvious and would rescue the child from undue protectiveness are relegated to the periphery of the drama. Like the audience, they have to wait two full acts for the mother to abandon facetious wisecracking and experience a change of heart as unconvincing as it is convenient and predictable.
The production itself is of mixed quality. As the autistic, teenaged David, the marvelous Eric Eisenbrey steals the show, though his character - like that of Helen Keller - doesn't speak a single word. Through facial expression and body language, he is able to convey the anguish of a trapped, frustrated intelligence. The other actors do not rise to the level of his performance.
The set design, by Jeff Strack, is worth being singled out, too. With the limited resources at his disposal, his set nonetheless tellingly conveys through its tackiness and clutter the genteel poverty that has become the world of the guilty, narrowly focused Sally, David's mother.
The weakest elements of the production are those of timing and pacing. Most of the actors deliver their lines as oddly self-contained wholes and are not responded to by their listening fellows with either a quickness or a naturalness that would create credibility. Whether this flaw is traceable to the director, some of the actors, or even the script itself is an open question.
6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp' s editor.
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