Sunday, October 24, 2010

Telethon, Portland Playhouse (Grade B)

Written by Kristin Newbom
Directed by Rose Riordan

Scott  .....  Michael O'Connell
Anne  .....  Valerie Stevens
Shelly  .....  Nikki Weaver
Lewis  .....  Casey McFeron
Larry  .....  Gary Norman

sez says: two care takers (Scott & Anne) and their flock (Shelly, Lewis & Larry) who are a trio of people inflicted with Cerebral Palsy, sit in a donut shop after various holiday fundraisers and unwind.  They are a family of sorts--or at least a community of individuals who know each other intimately.  They banter and brag and fight and joke-around like any group of close friends..except in this case, two are paid (paid very little $$ wise) to care for the other three.  The three who are the cared-for are part of the invisible word--the world we would rather not look at, so we shy away from them and their awkward jerky physical motions, and we seldom see them as people in the world.  But here, in this play, the audience is forced to see them as they are, just as nutty and aggressive and helpful and belligerent, and wanting to be accepted as the rest of us.  And they are sometimes care givers themselves--connected to each other and to their care givers via the interactions of everyday life.

This is not specifically about cerebral Palsy--it is about people caring about each other..and then moving on. It is about ephemeral relationships, that can be intense when they exist and then can be gone in the wink of an eye.  This is not told in a linear fashion, but rather it is presented as the sum of shared experiences and told via snippets of time that our group spends together. And then about how all that seems solid turns to dust, as life moves on and changes come from unexpected places.

Well acted. A gathering of people who won't be easy to forget.

MJC SAYS:  The acting pool has deepened and gained in skills since our arrival in Portland as demonstrated by this production.

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