note: entire contents copyright 1999 by Larry Stark
Set Design by Eric Levenson
Costume Design by Troy Siegfried
Lighting Design by John Malinowski
Sound Design & Act One Music Composed & Performed by J. Hagenbuckle
Other Incidental Music by Bill Evans
Production Stage Manager Melisa Dowaliby
Stage Manager Donald Schultz
This play is called a mystery, but it's really a tour de force in which three actors get to play the three intertwined and twisted heirs of a famous pair of architects, and then to play their own parents. Act one takes place on the day the kids find out who will inherit the world-famous house that started the firm's career, and act two centers on the three rainy days when that house, and the two families, were conceived. The kids' questions about how everything began get answered --- but it's the brilliant acting that makes this play shine.
Director Eric Engel has two of Boston's "Brand Name" stars and an unknown still a student at Emerson to work with, and integrates them into a seamless ensemble. Dennis Starr plays the relaxed, the self-contented, the defensively dull child, and then switches in act two to the handsome, flamboyantly talented partner in the architectural firm --- his own father. Dee Nelson and Diego Arciniegas are children of the other partner --- and wonder how their laconically silent father and eventually psychotic mother screwed them up. Nelson is the quiet, coping, married mother, and Arciniegas a restless, mercurial, scathingly satirical chatterer. ("You live in a suburb" "I live in Boston!" "As I said, a suburb --- or is it just a parish?"
Richard Greenberg cleverly set both acts of his play in the decrepit loft where the struggling architects worked, lived, and conducted their love-lives. Eric Levinson and John Malinowski have provided a back wall of glass that is dusty and irrelevant in act one, and stirringly lashed by rains throughout the second. And here Dee Nelson transforms into a young woman of the '60s up in The Big Apple from the south determined to be famous --- for what she cannot decide. Arciniegas here becomes the patient, honest draughtsman, rendered nearly inarticulate by a severe stutter. Whether he or his inspirational, tempestuous partner can design a great house --- or marry the woman --- is what's at stake.
Director Eric Engel has seen to it that every one of these six characters are movingly alive and vitally in conflict. Greenberg's people are unique, fascinating, and delightfully articulate. The audience learns the answers the children can never know, but very much more about their parents, and about themselves, than they ever thought of asking. Learning it all, from such a trio of excellent actors, is the answer to this "mystery".