nytheatre.com review by Judith Jarosz
July 20, 2007
The play Sin is, in a sense, a morality play that does not make a judgment as much as an observation. It takes place on the eve of the 1989 San Francisco earthquake, where we see a day in the life of 31-year-old helicopter traffic reporter "Avery on High." Perched above the Bay City, Avery considers herself a good, hard-working individual, who is fair and in control. Unfortunately for those less-than-perfect people around her, she has a rather judgmental view of life and has built a solid emotional wall around herself. We meet seven of these folks, each representing a different aspect of Avery's life, as well as mirroring one of the seven deadly sins referred to in the bible.
The first half of the piece sets up Avery's relationship with each of these people in a series of intimate scenes. The second half evolves in the helplessness of the earthquake's aftermath, when Avery is forced to depend on the same people that she took for granted and learn about herself in the process. The time period of the play highlights the feminist movement, and the ferocious fears related to the early AIDS epidemic, with references to independence for the sexes, equal pay for men and women, and gays having no one but their promiscuous selves to blame for what has happened.
Everyone in the cast looks to be in their 30s or 40s, and it is refreshing to see a modern play that has eight solid roles for mature actors. The actors are terrific and the script gives each one of them a chance to shine. Collin Mackenzie Smith is the mysterious lustful barfly whose sensual smirk looks like a snake waiting to strike. Carter Roy brings many layers to the slothful, alcoholic husband who still loves his wife and is trying to break free of his demons. Kelly Miller, as the greedy blind date, Henry Caplan as the envious co-worker, and Christopher Armond as the over-the-top boss who is in much need of some anger management classes are all riotously funny in their roles. As the gluttonous roommate Helen, Amy Broder manages to be lovable and pathetic at the same time, and Douglas Scott Sorenson as Avery's brother who is dying of AIDS, strikes just the right balance of vulnerability laced with pride. And at the center of it all, Megan Hill as Avery gives us a subtly morphing portrayal of a woman who grows toward a precipice in her life to face painful revelations about herself.
By the end some people have grown and others not. Sin doesn't give us any easy answers, it just asks us to look at ourselves and appreciate all of the different aspects of our personalities that make us weak or strong. Playwright Wendy MacLeod seems to point out that our weaknesses and strengths are not nearly as important as how we handle them.