Ultimately, I think the play is about human terror of being insignificant, of life passing you by, and the way our media culture grinds us all down with that fear. I think the shocking anger of our country is about the way people feel when they think they have been overlooked. And that’s gotten worse, not better.
Although I may know I am going to a play, I usually forget to even check out, on my calendar, what I am going to see. I also, despite my educator’s need to do research beforehand, usually forget to at least get background information about what I am going to see. That is what happened Friday night. I am not disappointed in my lack of being a good student and doing research. I needed none.
Friday night we saw “The Scene,” a play written by Theresa Rebeck and directed by Kimberly Senior at Writers Theatre in Glencoe. It is considered to be a comedy, but it is way more than that.
It is a decidedly ‘NO DOZE’ play. There was not one moment in the almost two hour production where I felt like the day had been too much for me. I was spellbound.
The play stars the following four characters, who all did a wonderful job. Especially wonderful was the actress who played Clea, successfully managing to instigate all sorts of actions, feelings, and situations in the other characters.
Stella – Charin Alvarez
Lewis – La Shawn Banks
Charlie – Mark L. Montgomery
Clea – Deanna Myers
As an aside, I loved the diversity of the casting of this particular showing: Asian, Latina, African-American, and Caucasian.
The opening scene of the play finds the audience in New York City at a party. Lewis, Charlie, and Clea are sharing the usual party banter and it is very clear that the men, who are a bit older, have thoughts about the young woman that are totally related to her age, appearance, behavior, and speech.
What unfolds is that despite the fact that Clea seems to be totally vapid and hell-bent on an Entertainment career, Lewis is willing to overlook that and pursue her. She ends up at his apartment and the same type of conversation that first appeared at the party goes on. Clea, despite being from Ohio and the daughter of an alcoholic mother, sounds like a Valley Girl. Her speech is confusing and everything said to her ends up being thrown back at the others. Simple things that are not even sexist become sexist, Clea seems to try to defend herself and attack the viewpoints she perceives with utmost speed. Her behavior and speech are totally confusing. She talks of alcohol and food and one has no concept of what she is talking about as she says she doesn’t drink (and does) and says that eating anything beyond a few morsels of lettuce and vegetables is what is killing people.
Clea has a profound effect upon everyone in this four-person play. One is Charlie, a forty-something actor who is no longer on top of his game. The other is his career unhappy wife Stella, who is very successful and supporting their lives. The other is Lewis, Charlie’s best friend who is seemingly successful but unhappy in his life status.
The interactions in this play are amazing and spot on. The writing is flawless. The characterizations, as wild as they sometimes are, are believable. See this play if you see no other plays, it continues to make me think more and more about relationships and life situations and how flawed we all are.