|Tobias Segal and America Ferrera. Photo: Carol Rosegg|
By Laura Marks
Directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch
The Women’s Project
What’s It All About?
Crystal (America Ferrera) stumbles upon Gary (Tobias Sega), squatting in a suburban home awaiting foreclosure when she breaks in with the same idea -- to live there instead of in her car. Gary's not all there mentally, but becomes Crystal's co-conspirator in making it look like he home is her own. she has to convince social worker Toni (Myra Lucretia Taylor) that she's found a stable home. She also has to keep on the good side of her boss, Shannon (Emily Ackerman) and keep her from discovering she's homeless after her divorce. Her goal in life is to regain custody of her daughter, Bethany, who was taken from her when she was forced to seek help at a homeless shelter following her divorce. A contemporary look at some issues facing real people today.
What are the Highlights?
America Ferrera (TV's Ugly Betty) gives a brilliant performance of a complex character. Crystal shows astonishing compassion toward Gary, frustrating complacency about what she has to do to secure Charlie as a customer and shrewd insight and people manipulation skills when dealing with Toni and Charlie's wife, Patricia (Kristin Griffith).The meaty part comes thanks to an interesting script that packs a lot into 90 minutes. It is contemporary, eye opening, sad, truthful, depressing and moving. Performances are strong across the board, with special notice going to Taylor for keeping the "mean" social worker likable instead.
What are the Lowlights?
The play was presented at the Women’s Project at Stage II at NY City Center. http://www.womensproject.org/home.htm. It has closed.
Women’s Project Theater was founded in 1978 by Julia Miles to address the significant under-representation of women in the American theater, and has since built a tremendous legacy. Although even today women playwrights and directors severely lack parity in pay and opportunity, the extraordinary women artists who have broken through the glass ceiling have all crossed the threshold at WP, including Eve Ensler, Lynn Nottage, Maria Irene Fornes, Suzan-Lori Parks, Diane Paulus, Sarah Ruhl, Paula Vogel, and Anna Deavere Smith, among the many. Throughout its 35-year history, Women’s Project Theater has produced and/or developed over 600 plays and published 11 anthologies of plays.
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-- God’s name taken in vain