The double bill of two one act plays, The Statue, The Corpse and Me and Lady By the Sea (Variations in Blue and Light) depict feelings of self-recrimination, fear and guilt in fantasy form. The two plays are almost two sides of the same coin. The first, set in an artist's studio, concerns an unhappily married sculptress, Gilda Convey (Cornelia Lorentzen) who has been "playing the sexual field," not always successfully. Before the story begins, she has killed her husband Turner Convey (W. Allen Wrede) and stashed his corpse in a closet. She then sculpted Statue (Christopher L. Kann) out of marble in the image of her deceased husband's lover. As the play opens she returns, frustrated, from a party during which her romantic scheming did not work.
It could be assumed that Gilda had gotten rid of her husband and created this beautiful statue to seek revenge and at the same time search for perfection. But ideals are not always achieved, not even in conjecture. The author [OOBR reviewer Andres J. Wrath - Ed.] has chosen to expand this fantasy by having Statue come to life and in Gilda's mind, become her perfect lover. However, Turner also comes to life and confronts Statue, which talks to him but doesn't truly understand what he is saying. At the same time Turner, acting as commentator on life and death, speaks to the audience. Gilda becomes increasingly frustrated with Statue's inability to be "real." She also has to contend with Turner's irritating habit of moving out of his position as a corpse.
The second play, The Lady by the Sea, which is considerably shorter, would have provided more of a dramatic build-up to the whole evening had it been shown first. Another fantasy, Lady concerns a painting whose subjects come to life (not an original idea) and display many aspects of human behavior. The probable cause of this humanization is the indecision of the two sides of the artist, Andres #1 (W. Allen Wrede) and Andres #2 (Christopher L. Kann) as to what the painting should mean. The subjects, Boy (Matthew C. Hammond), Girl (Caroline Goldrick) and Lady (Atma), are made deliberately two-dimensional.
Wrath's writing is most imaginative and was generally well-served by Brenda D. Cook's sensitive direction of both plays. However, the pacing in Statue was somewhat uneven, with unfulfilled moments that lasted too long.
The acting skills of the company were proficient. Lorentzen gave a well-rounded performance, except for a few over-the-top gestures and some inaudible mumblings. Wrede has a great voice and used it well, while Hammond, Goldrick and Atma did well with what they were given. Kann, who also has a reliable voice, was excellent, especially as Statue.
Caroline Goldrick's costumes were low-key and modern -- just right. Her elaborate evening dress for Lady was quite stunning. The lighting design of Louis Lopardi was adequate. The first set, uncredited, consisting of a couple of chairs a center table and a bookcase was appropriate; the second used and required no more than a bare stage.
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Copyright 2001 Sheila Mart