Lunar landing

Full Moon & High Tide in the Ladies' Room

Written and directed by Marcia Haufrecht
The Common Basis Theatre
750 Eighth Ave. Ste. 500 (340-1112)
Equity showcase (closes Nov. 19)
Review by Sheila Mart

The ladies' room of a bar-restaurant hardly seems like an appealing setting for a group of women - with various degrees of emotional problems - to gather for a social exchange. However, Marcia Haufrecht, who wrote and directed Full Moon & High Tide ..., decided that a less-than-glamorous background for this disparate group of women (waitresses and patrons) would allow for more concentration on their interactions. That decision was only partially successful. The constant toilet flushing (a well-produced sound effect) as women used the one working facility, together with the accurately visual mess of the room, was distracting. The main thrust of this piece was on the waitresses, each one working in a thankless, dead-end survival job. Therefore, the patrons, Lesbian Biker, Drunken Secretary, Sophisticated Woman, Mousy Girl, Sexy Woman (Jenny Pringle), who wandered in and out, were superfluous. As these waitresses were friendly with each other, their emotional dilemmas might have had more impact in another setting - perhaps one of their tiny apartments.

The period setting for this play is the early '70's - when Roe v. Wade was a bubbling hot issue. Thus the emphasis of this piece is understandably on the pros and cons of abortion - a subject which has never been laid (pardon the pun) to rest, despite the law. From Babe's frantic entrance, to Madeleine 's revelation of her botched abortion (leaving her unable to bear children) at the age of 17, it is obvious that the trauma of this highly charged subject is about to be explored from several angles. Not surprisingly, we find out that Babe is pregnant and is in a terrible quandary as to whether to have the baby, given that she has no desire to marry the father.

The artistic longings of two of the other characters - Anne, a struggling actress, and Sybil, an unrecognized painter - were well-portrayed.

Haufrecht's direction was most effective in exploring the nuances of her delightful writing.

Generally the performers did a credible job with their characters. Kristin Smith (Babe) gave a consummate portrayal of a woman in turmoil; Stephanie Flores (Madeleine) was believable, although technically she tended to monotony; Anya Migdal (Anne)'s actress was wholly accurate, and it would be nice to see her do something with more depth; Evelyn Caballero (Sybil) gave a convincing performance of a frustrated artist and mother; Jicky Schnee (Nancy), while well-cast, needed to show more variety in her delivery. Louis Changchien (Lun Wan, Myron Bergman Bill, Agent) and Maria Scavullo (Lola) were appropriate in what they were given. Scavullo should be credited for the excellent painting of the character of Nancy.

The costumes (unaccredited) were just right.

The stage manager and light and sound operators - Richard Raganella, Ben Fox, and Nonno Lee - did a first-rate job, but the intermittent blurbs of music did not always work.

The set design by Kristin Smith and Marcia Haufrecht was most credible.

Box Score:

Writing: 2

Directing: 2

Acting: 1

Set: 2

Costumes: 1

Lighting/Sound: 2

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Copyright 2000 Sheila Mart