Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Sin"

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note: entire contents copyright 2001 by Larry Stark


by Wendy MacLeod
Directed by Courtney Anne O'Connor

Original Music & Sound Design by J. Hagenbuckle
Set Design by Rick Vanzini
Lighting Design by Chris Akins
Costume Design by Kristin Glans
Production Stage Manager Brigid Connelly

Avery..................Laura Latreille
Lust/Greed............John Carozza
Sloth/Wrath.............Bill Mootos
Gluttony...................Ellen Stone
Envy/Pride........Shawn Sturnick

Is self-righteousness a sin? Avery doesn't think so --- then again Avery thinks she is the only one who notices sins in others, and feels duty-bound to point them out and to try, however much it costs her --- to try to help them improve. They of course think Avery is overly critical and sits above them being smug. And, well she is --- she is above them, making radio traffic reports from a helicopter all day. But does that make her so pure and sinless she has a right to carp and to interfere? And what would happen to all these seven-and-a-half sinners if the San Francisco earthquake of 1989 shook up all their lives forever? Coyote Theatre's production of Wendy MacLeod's "Sin" will tell you.

The difference in MacLeod's two acts isn't simply earthquake, death, destruction and fire --- all handled mainly by J. Hagenbuckle's sound and original music and Chris Akins' lighting effects. In the second act everyone, however briefly, notices and listens to one another, and gives some personal secret the other can understand. None of them are big things, just as none of the tiny "sins" Avery slips into --- while trying to cross the stricken city to find out if her home, and her life, are still intact --- amount to more than minor human tarnish here and there. But maybe being a little more forgivingly human is all any of us can really expect.

Laura Latreille plays Avery, on this odyssey through contemporary life, trying but failing to accept everyone's foibles yet flying into righteous rage at their stubborn blindness, yet ultimately admitting they all, as she does, need acceptance. On her travels she meets: a make-out artist in a bar (John Carozza as Lust); her alcoholic doctor husband sliding out of his job and into the bottle (Bill Mootos as Sloth); a blind date real estate hustler (Carozza again as Greed); her roommate friend addicted to t-v and snack foods (Ellen Stone as Gluttony); her helicopter pilot wanting their boss's station-manager job (Shawn Sturnick as Envy); That boss screaming with vindictive rage (Mootos again as Rage); and her self-absorbed gay brother dying of AIDS (Sturnick again as Pride).

Designer Rick Vanzini has provided three little turntable setpieces that spin to reveal second minimal sets under Chris Akins' quick-change lighting. Every scene is a simple two-person dialogue crisply peppered with lively present-tense quips and references. Director Courtney Anne O'Connor sees to it the restricted format never seems flat or repetitious, and the quick flips from sarcastic contemporary satire to sharp emotional body-blows are never predictable. The players take to their chameleon-acts by making each new character quickly, comfortably unique, drawing the audience into their situations and on into the compelling maze of plot. And, here again, live theater packs much more of a punch than screen or tube could possibly contemplate.


"Sin" (till 10 February)
Boston Center for The Arts, 539 Tremont Street, BOSTON
(617) 426-2787

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide