Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Strange Snow"

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"Strange Snow"

by Stephen Metcalfe
Directed by John MacKenzie

Production Design by Michelle Boll & John MacKenzie
Set Design by John MacKenzie
Set Decoration by Michael & Kate Tonner
Scenic Artist Michele Boll
Production Stage Manager Sarah Simons

Joseph Meggesy...................Rocco Sperazzo
Martha Flanagan........................Kate Tonner
David Flanagan.......................Wayne Vargas

I had a beer with breakfast this morning, knowing it to be in honor of Stephen Metcalfe's "Strange Snow" which I saw eloquently and movingly realized by The Hovey Players last night. Rocco Sperazzo playing "Megs" --- a loud, life-loving survivor of the Vietnam War --- recommends a beer with breakfast to sweep away all the mental cobwebs, especially on the early-spring pre-dawn opening of trout season. In this carefully crafted play he is about to transform two lives as well as to redeem his own, and his clear-headed, clear-eyed yet uncompromisingly optimistic awareness of the world is vital to the story.

Metcalfe has honed this script with fine sandpaper, dropping subtle hints that blossom later. Megs is out to snap his G.I. buddy David (Wayne Vargas) out of a self-destructive alcoholic silence about the War, but surprised to run into Martha (Kate Tonner), David's biology-teaching sister functioning as his housekeeper. The play unfolds as a vividly alive slice-of-life examining the many aspects of love.

The play turns on whether people can face and forgive themselves for their failures or forever be self-condemned to frustration and guilt. In its microcosm, it takes real courage to reach out to someone else, and the evening is filled with little victories of momentous honesty. And, for all that, the details are full of the humor of the unexpected in human lives. These are people past youth giving themselves a last grab at the brass ring, self-aware enough to be timid, yet brave enough to try.

John MacKenzie, the I.R.N.E. Award recipient as Best Set Designer last year, has used that same careful eye for theatrical truth and telling detail not only as designer but as director for this bubbly drama. His Boston kitchen/living room features real soup and real coffee, real conflict and real love. And Scenic Artist Michelle Boll has performed her usual miracles of eye-fooling textures and perspectives. Everything connected with this show, down to the high-school trophies and the salad-greens, the indiscretions and jokes and emotional triumphs, is executed with sure-handed love by a community theatre with adult sensibilities and a commitment to craft.

And that beer did indeed clear the cobwebs. I hope I caught this trout!


"Strange Snow" (15 - 30 March)
Abbott Memorial Theater, WALTHAM, MA
(781) 893-9171

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide