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Have You Seen Steve Steven
Kathleen is the slightly bewildered teenage daughter of Mary and Frank, a suburban couple whose dreams run no farther than the new projector set in the basement. Their old friends, Jane and Bill, come calling one night, dragging their teenage son Thomas and a foreign exchange student along. Thomas and Kathleen used to play together as small children, though those memories are almost gone. Gradually, as the adults play catch-up, Kathleen and Thomas begin to remember the games they used to play—most centering around a small imaginary dog, named Steve Steven. He got "trapped" in a hollow one day, and neither child was brave enough to go into the hollow and rescue him. Then a creepy new neighbor, Hank Mountain, shows up. He knows a little too much about Kathleen and about Steve Steven, and so does his new creepy friend, the old lady Vera.
The adults are equally unsure what to make of Hank and Vera, but they're too polite to say so. Hank draws the entire household under his weird spell, and when he and Vera finally leave, the three teenagers are left to pick through the aftermath.
Though the play is mostly naturalistic (for the first two-thirds, anyway), the last part threatens to spin off into something much more surreal. It never quite does, though it maintains a tenuous grasp on naturalism at best after Vera's arrival. Playwright Anne Marie Healy (Now That's What I Call A Storm, The Night That Roger Went to Visit the Parents of His Old High School Girlfriend) does a fantastic job of balancing the fine line between realism and surrealism. Her writing is fresh and sharp, and the characters poke gentle fun at Midwestern mores without being cruel or stereotypical.
Director Anne Kauffman seems to have a knack for this sort of odd play. She did wonders with God's Ear (review), and while Steve Steven isn't nearly so—well, weird (or groundbreaking), it's also more enjoyable because it speaks to a wider core audience.
Kauffman has also assembled a fine cast. Standouts are Stephanie Wright Thompson as Kathleen and Matthew Maher as Hank Mountain. Thompson is perfect as the basically nice but really naïve teenage daughter. Maher plays a very uncanny and disturbing neighbor, keeping everyone uncomfortable but never going over the top.
Set design by Sue Rees is just what you'd expect in a Midwestern McMansion, but the sound (Jeremy J. Lee) and lights (Garin Marschall) provide the little touches of oddity that keep the audience off-balance.
Have You Seen Steve Steven? is the latest offering from Part of 13P, a collective of thirteen playwrights that produce their own work. Previous productions have also been fresh and innovative and this one does the collective proud.
Try onlineseats.com for great seats to
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