note: entire contents copyright 2005 by Larry Stark
by Jess Martin
Directed by Sheriden Thomas & Susan Corso
Set Design by Sheriden Thomas & Cinda Lavely
Lighting Design by John Tibbets
Costume Design by Nathalie Degenhardt
Sound Design by Nathan Leigh
House Manager Jennifer Hughes
Best Boy Ilene Fischer
Electrician Chris Fournier
Production Manager Rene C. Farster
Assistant Stage Manager Ginny Yang
Stage Manager Cindy Lavely
Alison.....Karen "Mal" Malme
Sometimes in order to see interesting theatre you have to go to the Queerest places!
I saw this play in a workshop a couple weeks or so ago, and though I'm not sure playwright Jess Martin has yet found a satisfactory ending for it, the improvements are amazing.
The action of the play starts in bewildering chaos --- a bickering pair of inept kidnappers (Karen Malme and Kim Hoff) abduct a college professor (Susan Corso) as a favor for a friend (Sara Jones) who has perhaps misunderstood a kiss that feeds a lesbian obsession which remains stubbornly unrequited. Sorting out the whats and whys of this situation, peeling back the layers of confusion, takes up most of the first act, which ends with everyone suddenly under the influence of a psychedelic elixer --- and Act Two is full of lost handcuff-keys, eloquent furniture, arguments about love versus obsession and, eventually, that to me unsatisfactory denouement.
Along the way, there is a good deal of bubbly dialogue, in solid Texas accents, some farcical knockabout arguments, solidly sincere characterization, and excellent acting. It's quite possible that Susan Corso --- one of a pair of directors (with Sheridan Thomas) who stepped into the role of the professor in a backstage emergency --- was, obviously, under-rehearsed; however, she looked pretty good to me.
In the past five years, Queer Soup Theatre has held together a solid core (Malme, Hoff, Martin, and Production Manager Renee Farster are founding members) who act as creative collaborators. In this final week-end it's probable the show will have changed somewhat --- probably for the better. When I saw it originally, Malme and Hoff looked like bumbling buffoons; by the time it opened, they had become people. The dialogue sounded less like shtick and more like conversation.
The company has had a similar history: starting out in the tradition of gay situation comedy, presentational jokes and camp situations, they honed this material down to deadly cross-sexual parodies ("Buffy The Vampire Slayer's High School Reunion"), and then came of age with Jess Martin's play about the conflicts of religion and sexuality called "Home". With this play she has used a Mass Cultural Council Playwriting Grant to re-define the merely comic into humor, and allowed the cast to be witty people rather than stereotypes.
Now, about that ending....