note: entire contents copyright 2007 by Beverly Creasey
Janet Kenney writes quirky ten-minute plays and lovely monologues. In THERESA AT HOME (at the Boston Playwrights Theatre through next weekend) she’s strung the latter along in a fashion which turns the conventional play on its ear. The subject is marriage and the difficulty is marriage. Kenney tips her hat to Christopher Durang by way of THE HONEYMOONERS. Everyone, it seems, is unsuited to their mate, especially the Theresa of the title, who has just left the convent and is completely overwhelmed by civilian life. Vincent Murphy (whom we’ve missed terribly since he left Boston) directs the thematically connected, yet dramatically unconnected scenes: The characters never interact with each other until the last, unifying scene when mother and sisters finally talk to each other.
Murphy has some of the best actresses in town (Cheryl McMahon, Julie Jirousek and Stacy Fischer) cavorting on Jon Savage’s colorless (except for the upstairs neighbor’s apt.) set, playing grannies, gossips and do-gooders galore, including a benign Sister Mary Ignatius who is more than happy to explain it ALL to us in great detail. We’re so relieved at play’s end to see the characters bond that we’re left wondering why it took so long. I, for one, wish the transformation which ends Act II could have begun the Act. Now that we know the characters, it would be fun to see what they could cook up together—and Kenney usually invents the most imaginative mischief in her plays. Perhaps we’ll see more of Theresa in a sequel!