Open: 07/13/10- Close: 08/01/10
Three American Women: A Trilogy|
Reviewed for TheaterOnline.com By: Serena Pomerantz
A play that centers entirely around women feels like a refreshing change of pace. Even in the twenty-first century, there are not nearly enough female playwrights writing plays about strong female characters. And as few women roles as there are, there are even fewer roles that are written especially for minority women. So this play seems to fit in perfectly with the Midtown International Theatre Festival.
Three American Women: A Trilogy by Lori Marra tells the story of three different minority women, who are loosely connected to each other. The Asian American Janice is connected to the Indian American Rachael, who is connected to the African American Odessa.
The first story is Janice’s story all about her experiences working in a department store. The character is so enthusiastic and excited about everything and chatters away about all different topics. Paulina Brahm plays Janice and she plays the role too much like a schizophrenic person. The part consists of one long monologue, so she does have the challenge of not having a scene partner to interact with and give her reactions, but she did not have any sense who this character was and made generic loud choices.
The second story centers around Rachael, an Indian American lawyer who has to bail her brother out of jail. While she is trying to help him, he and his wife try to convince her it is her duty to take care of their dying mother and she tries to convince them it should not be her responsibility to do so just because she is a woman. This play is the most well-written and captivating of the three as it tackles themes of race, family, and women’s rights. Nalini Sharma does a strong job as Rachael. She has a good sense of the passion of this character. Sometimes she does not go quite far enough with the passion, but she understands the character motivations and commits to her actions and objectives. Iftiaz Haroon and Masha Mendieta play Rachael’s brother and sister-in-law. They are not as specific as Ms. Sharma, but they are interesting and easy to watch.
The final story is about Odessa (Anotinette M. Dailey), a woman in serious financial trouble who is waiting for car mechanics to fix her car. She is cranky and frustrated to be at the car garage for as many hours as she is, but ends up befriending Eddie (Jarett Karlsberg), the young man who works at the front desk. The acting in this play was very strong, but the script was redundant. Every time it seemed like the scene was going to end, Odessa would have another outburst about how she wants her car back. The actors manage to overcome that and truly find the vulnerability in these characters in addition to their rage. The play, however, needs to be cut because nothing new is said in the last ten or fifteen minutes of it.
Overall, the plays are entertaining enough. They are only a little over an hour, so they are a little too under-developed for the audience to truly get invested in the three stories. That said, they are interesting, particularly the second one, and have potential to be developed into strong full-length plays about relationships and strains that females and minorities experience.
Abingdon Theater Mainstage : 312 West 36th Street, First Floor