Secrets of Lamp Lit Blinds
nytheatre.com review by Joe Beaudin
August 13, 2008
Secrets of Lamp Lit Blinds is a series of three short one-acts written by Jason Williamson. While each one of them includes different actors on a different set, they all seem to suggest a similar theme of grief and longing. I am always intrigued by an author's interpretation of these subjects, but I think this production directed by Michael Petranek is both hit and miss.
The first play, Someone Else's Ghost, depicts the story of Odile, a woman who recently became a widow, and is dealing with the aftermath of the death of her husband. Things become sticky when a fugitive named Luke slips into her house for sanctuary. Odile seems to sympathize with Luke, takes him under her wing, and allows him to stay. The play unravels, and we discover that Luke, too, is dealing with a kind of sadness that only Odile understands.
The second play, Audrey in Dresses, is another story about the loss of a significant other. Audrey is dealing with the death of her mother, and Gene, her husband, is awkwardly trying to console her. The scene takes place in Audrey's parents' attic. She is trying on all of her mother's old dresses, reminiscing about them, while Gene is "trying" to kill moths that are swarming the attic. Each dress tells us a little more about Audrey's mother and the terse relationship they had together.
The final play, cleverly named BoyGirlBoyGirl, is about a peeping tom named Boy, and his infatuation with an attractive Girl who is searching for her lost dog. Boy is trying to muster up the courage to talk to Girl, but can only seem to watch from afar, and dream of what might be. These dreams and thoughts are portrayed by two actors who play a male and female chorus. Through the chorus, we can see the inner thoughts and demons of Boy.
The hit: BoyGirlBoyGirl is the most successful piece in this show. Sean Hudock as Boy is a joy to watch. He is a frantic peeping-tom clown and his energy carries the play along. Likewise, the chorus members played by Jono Mason and Keely Williams give us a clear and clever look inside the head of Boy and his deep need to be close to Girl, played lovely by Kate Rogal. I sincerely enjoyed the complexity of this piece and the actors' commitment to their parts.
Now the misses: While the actors of Someone Else's Ghost and Audrey in Dresses do a fine job, there seems to be something missing or something underdeveloped in these plays. Ghost needs more: more story, more character work. I was interested in the characters, but I think an entire full-length play may be needed to illustrate their complexities. And with Audrey, I think the relationship between Gene and Audrey needs work. Grief is a tough subject, a sensitive subject, and I just don't believe the stakes are high enough. Gene's consoling of his wife is awkward, which is good, but it isn't awkward enough. It only tips the iceberg of awkwardness, when more could be explored.�