Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Living Out"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

note: entire contents copyright 2005 by Carl A. Rossi


"LIVING OUT"

by Lisa Loomer
directed by Lois Roach

Wallace Breyer … Lisa Tucker
Ana Hernandez … Mariela Lopez-Ponce
Linda Billings Farzam … Jen Alison Lewis
Nancy Robin … Rachel Harker
Richard Robin … Dale Place
Bobby Hernandez … Luis Negrón
Zoila Tezo … Nélida Torres-Colón
Sandra Zavata … Elaine D. Theodore

Boston theatres have discovered Latinos, this season: the Lyric Stage’s New England premiere of Lisa Loomer’s LIVING OUT falls in line behind the Huntington’s SONIA FLEW and SpeakEasy’s ANNA IN THE TROPICS. Of the three, LIVING OUT has the most accessible plot --- a growing friendship between two Los Angeles women: Nancy, a Jewish attorney, and Ana, a Salvadorian hired to care for Nancy’s newborn child (i.e. a Have and a Have Not) --- and director Lois Roach keeps the nonstop action smooth and flowing. The audience enjoyed themselves, but I went away unsatisfied. I will often bemoan how the cinema’s aesthetics have crept into the craft of playwriting; as episode after episode of LIVING OUT unfolded --- Ana, waiting for American citizenship, hides from Nancy that she and her husband have a son and that she has another one still living in El Salvador --- I began to think of television, and 1970s television, at that (comedy, with a social conscience). Ms. Loomer’s dialogue neatly, swiftly enlightens in sitcom fashion but also stays firmly on the surface lest it enlighten too much (the Latino characters are noble and hardworking; the white characters are easy satirical targets); not surprisingly, Ms. Loomer’s set pieces where the Haves and the Have Nots congregate in the park to gossip and bitch about each other are the evening’s safe, entertaining highlights.

The ensemble is solid; its actors, all welcome. Mariela Lopez-Ponce's Ana is a warm, nurturing contrast to Rachel Harker’s well-intentioned Nancy, always at sixes and sevens. (Should Ms. Harker ever relax and deepen as an actress, she could excel at the Williams heroines torn between the spirit and the flesh.) Dale Place, Boston’s all-purpose villain, gets to scamper about as Nancy’s husband; his steel core keeps the character from dissolving into mere fuzziness. Lisa Tucker, a handsome comedienne, is simultaneously kindly and condescending as a smiling matron drawn from life rather than from Camp --- if A DAY IN HOLLYWOOD, A NIGHT IN THE UKRAINE is still do-able, heeeeeeeeeeeeere’s Margaret!

"Living Out" (25 March-23 April)
LYRIC STAGE COMPANY OF BOSTON
140 Clarendon Street, BOSTON, MA
1 (617) 437-7172

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