THEATER MIRROR REVIEWS - "Seating and Other Arrangements"

Larry Stark's Theater Mirror, Boston's LIVE Theater Guide


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"Seating and Other Arrangements"

                          Written by Barbara Kahn
                       Directed by Steven O'Donnell

                        Gina....... .E Grace Noonan
                        Amy......  ..Devery Doleman
                        Robin..  ...Catherine Clark
                        Marilyn.....Rebecca Weitman

                       Set Design by Sandra Heffley
                     Costume Design by Karen Martakos
                  Lighting Design by Karen Davis-Brownlow
                      Original Music by Larry Bailey
                        Stage Manager Maeve McGrath

                      at the TRIANGLE THEATER COMPANY
                        58 Berkeley Street, BOSTON
                               till 27 April

The phrase "situation comedy" has acquired a contemptuous connotation since it usually describes simple formulas wearing out their welcome in endless television repetitions. But what if it were a few hours of theater?

Think of this situation: a person unable to recover from the break-up with a live-in lover meets and falls for a much younger and equally smitten replacement --- only to have the past in the form of the ex come back to restage their old battles. It's only New-Age group-therapy by an old friend of both old lovers that can help everyone which love is true and make its course run smooth again. Inside your living-room goldfish bowl that's enough for thirteen weeks at least, and residuals.

Except that in Barbara Kahn's "Seating And Other Arrangements" all four people are women.

For the Triangle Theater Company's production, Artistic Director Steven O'Donnell must have chosen four perfect body- types. E Grace Noonan is solid, settled, experienced, resistant to change and just a touch territorial. Devery Doleman is smoothly slender, coltish, innocently sexy, with a valley-girl lilt to all her lines and a tendency to talk a lot when she finds nothing to say. Catherine Clark is stylishly worldly, self-assured, and a fierce competitor who hates to lose. Rebecca Weitman is relaxed in comfortable clothes, at ease in the lotus-position, and a stern but gushy negotiator at home with every feel-good pop-psychology cliche in the book.

Each of these actresses, however, comes into the fray with a fully developed sense of self and spontaneous, unflinching reactions to one another. There is genuine fire between the two old flames, hesitant vulnerability in the new, and a warm glow in the embers of past passion that patiently coaxes out a resolution. And everyone is completely at home with Barbara Kahn's easy, contemporary, bubblingly funny dialog. The fun arises as much out of fully observed character as it does simply from situation.

In this production there is a fish-bowl on Sandra Heffley's crowded yet smoothly workable set, but this is one situation- comedy that is much bigger and more satisfyingly enjoyable than anything the boob-tube has to offer.

Larry Stark's Theater Mirror, Boston's LIVE Theater Guide