Quote of the Day: We’ve just got to learn how to get through these real bad days here. I mean, it’s getting to be a thing in our family. Meg, the middle sister in Beth Henley’s Crimes of the Heart, directed by Marcela Lorca, playing at The Guthrie Theater, May 3 – June 15, 2014.
The Magrath sisters have had to deal with much tragedy in their young lives. Lenny, the oldest, just turned 30, and she’s dealt with her mother’s suicide, her grandfather’s stroke, and her sister’s violent act and murder charges. Middle sister Meg, who is constantly searching for herself, shows up in all her artist, wounded angst, and Babe, the baby, is an emotional wreck. All of this is set in the backdrop of a little Mississippi town where prejudices, class, and your family’s history sticks with you like slugs from the marsh.
Despite all the hardship, the sisters persevere in the humor that stems from the tragedy of life. Honestly, it’s a hilarious play with colorful characters, vivid dialogue, and zany scenes. There is a reason Beth Henley won the Pulitizer Prize for her first play in 1981. Has anyone seen the movie? I saw a community theatre production of this play at the Firehall Theatre in Grand Forks, ND, several years ago. The opening scene where cousin Chick Boyle enters and changes her pantyhose remains one of the funniest and memorable moments I’ve witnessed on stage. Sarah Agnew, who plays Chick, gives her so much pizzazz. (She played Sarah Goodwin in Time Stands Still at The Guthrie a couple years ago, a play and performance that grabbed me by the heart.)
I felt the sisterhood. I’m the middle sister of three (we also have three brothers), and we do take on certain roles. At times, we could strangle each other, and in the next minute, scraping one up off the floor, or coming to her defenses. My older sister once said, “Friends come and go, but you always wait for your sister to come home.” They are the ones you can call on in times of crisis. I chatted with director Marcela Lorca after the show at a Women in Media event, hosted by Lauren and Elizabeth from the P.R. department at The Guthrie Theater. Ms. Lorca also talked of being a middle sister, yet sometimes taking on the role of leader, the responsible one. And, because she and her sisters are close in age as well, they had many guys hanging around the house. What she likes about the women in Crimes of the Heart is their freedom. They aren’t typical women’s roles that seem to be all bad or all good. They are much more complex, like real women and the relationships they have, especially with their sisters. She said she is often asked to direct tragedies. This play is filled with humor with tragic undertones. Why do we laugh in times of hardship?
All of the actors, the two males (Sam Bardwell and David Darrow) included, work together like a family. They seem to enjoy telling the story together. I would recommend any of them for an award, especially Ashley Rose Montondo who’s accent and delivery convinced me that she’d grown up in the south, and her range of emotion and depth of character make the story real.
Go to Crimes of the Heart at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis! Bring your sisters, your friends, your mother, and your best guy. The two guys sitting next to me were laughing and engaged in the story. They also have sisters, girl friends, mothers, and aunts. Despite what seems like their resistance to our display of emotional range, they do want to understand us and love us through the tragedies and hilarious moments of life.
To see photos from the Women in Media event, visit my facebook page.
Coming up at The Guthrie, Our Country’s Good, and My Fair Lady.
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: Write about a special woman in your life, a sister, mother, aunt, friend.