Short Term Listings
BOOKS and CDs
LETTERS TO EDITOR
Writing for Us
A CurtainUp Los Angeles Review
In another excellent production by The Road Theatre Company Steve Totland probes the flip side of happily ever after in this foray into the lives of a young married couple in Kansas, America's heartland. David (Shaun O'Hagan), a teacher, has married Denise (Shana Gagnon), one of his students who is 12 years his junior. After a decade they still seem as much in love as teen-agers, but there are hints that there are snakes in the garden of Eden.
David has resigned after a mysterious reprimand. David's best friend Mark (Chet Grissom), a surgeon, and his live-in love Alice (Heather Sher), a hospital administrator, seem like grown-ups, compared to David and Denise. The play reveals the deceptions David and Denise practice to keep their Barbie & Ken marriage playful and light-hearted.
Although the play takes its time building suspense, Totland's skill lies in the matter-of-fact depiction of the evasion of reality and its effect on relationships. Neither Denise or David seem ambitious. Despite college degrees and English majors, they appear content to go along/get along in their small Midwestern town.
Meryl Friedman directs with a sensitive awareness of these beats, never letting melodrama swamp the secrets and lies which drive the plot. Totland focuses on relationships not just these secrets. Mark has a crisis of conscience that illuminates his values but also questions his friendship for David. Ruth, mother of the high school girl David has compromised, has a vividly dramatic scene, to which Tamara Zook gives full values of tension and stress. Mark and Alice have no conflicts in a relationship in which her hospital administrator skills have obviously transferred into a household in which she wears the pants. She projects both Alice's warmth and authority.
The cast is headlined by Shaun O'Hagan as the likeable but weak teacher, David, and Shana Gagnon as his vivacious sexy wife Denise. Chet Grissom turns in a vigorous performance as Mark, complemented by Heather Sher as his wife Alice and Tamara Zook as Ruth, mother of a the compromised high school girl. Larua Fine's set design features large wooden mid-Western blocks of furniture which the actors move around to depict scenes ranging from the old swimming hole to a Thanksgiving dinner party.
Easy-on-the budget super gift for yourself and your musical loving friends. Tons of gorgeous pictures.
Leonard Maltin's 2007 Movie Guide
At This Theater