THE MAY QUEEN CHRONICLES: SO MUCH CAN HAPPEN IN A "POD" by Barbara Biddison
Last night I saw a dress rehearsal. Just five people and 4 desks and 4 chairs and all kinds of "stuff" kept my rapt attention for an hour and a half. These three women and two men are so real and so clueless sometimes that I laughed out loud, and so different in character, and so troubled at other times, that I cried. In the opening scene Dave is moving about and Mike is drunk, and normally drunk isn't funny in my world, but he's funny And his desk is so cluttered with garbage from the food he brings in to eat that there is no desk surface to be seen. And then there's Gail, older than the others, dressed in crazy beautiful "work clothes" and blessed with the ability to give a massage in the office. Then in comes the tiny irritating, insecure, loud office manager with a new sullen, quiet "temp" who it turns out is not as much of a stranger to the others as we had thought. So we watch all of them try to sort things out. Who IS this woman?
This play is for me the kind of treat that I don't usually have as a long-long-time audience member. I've been going to plays since my late teens. I've been going to HG plays for its 30-some years of existence. For much of that HG time I've been on Artistic Planning, and that means that I have probably read every play here before I see it. Usually I just love to see the stage come to life. What I have read becomes real, pretty much as I hoped for and pretty much as I had expected. Well, this one is different. I read it. OK. But this play comes to life on stage in a way that I could never have imagined. This play goes from reading a "not-my-all-time-favorate-play" to an " I really want to see it again, maybe twice again" play. Seriously. The acting is really good. But more than that, This play must be seen and heard live. Yes, live and on stage.
I drilled lines with a couple of the actors. We talked some about what was going on there. I was familiar with the words, but no play is just about words. Good plays are about people and emotions and life happenings. We have to pay attention when we see this play. Dialogue is clever and meaty and often funny. The long monologues are works of art thanks to the playwright and the character who speaks. And their timing is just so good. Ah, yes,. Who is Jen Nash?