Greenbelt Arts Center Dearly DepartedBy Laura & Mike Clark • Sep 16th, 2007 • Category: Reviews
Listen to our review of the Greenbelt Arts Center’s production of Dearly Departed [MP3 5:15 2.4MB].
Mike: I think the performers did a good job, but they didn’t have much to work with. The script was really lacking. Unfortunately that carried through to the show itself.
Laura: The actors and actresses overall I thought did well. But unfortunately the writing was bad. There were times when I wanted to know more about the characters and they just kind of dropped it. I think at times the writing was trying to go for the laugh and sometimes it just didn’t happen.
Mike: The whole thing felt very incomplete. It’s really hard to believe that this was an actual published play that’s played off Broadway. Dearly Departed is a play written by David David Bottrell and Jessie Jones. Set in the present time in and around the towns of Lula and Timson, somewhere below the Mason-Dixon line. In the Baptist back woods of the Bible Belt, the beleaguered Turpin family proves that living and dying in the South are seldom tidy. Despite their earnest efforts to pull themselves together for their father’s funeral, the Turpin’s other problems keep overshadowing the solemn occasion. Amidst the chaos, the Turpins turn for comfort to their friends and neighbors, an eccentric community of misfits who just manage to pull together and help each other through their hour of need, and finally, the funeral.
Laura: One of the sons of the deceased was Bud, played by Mark Fulco. He did a good job. Again in the writing he didn’t have a lot to work with. He played his part well. He seemed comfortable on stage. He had a good rapport with his other brothers and his wife. He was a bit of a penny pincher, he didn’t want to spend a whole lot of money on the funeral.
Mike: Another of Ray-Bud’s son’s, Royce, was played by Bob Kleinberg. He had a great scene with his grandmother, Marguerite, played by Erika Drezek. They got stuck in the car on the way to the house after Ray-Bud died because they ran out of gas. They were snipping at each other. It was a great scene. I really liked it. It was one of the few scenes where there was action going on.
Laura: Suzanne, the daughter -in-law of the deceased was played by Shannon Miller. I like her and her husband, Junior, played by Jeff Landou, had a really good scene in the second act when she realized that he was fooling around with another woman. The “Oh, my gosh, the world is ending,” the weeping and wailing that went on were, well, they weren’t realistic. They were over the top. That was a funny scene.
Mike: She did kind of pull it together and everything came together at the end at the funeral, but all of these characters I wish had been more fully developed. Such as what’s going to happen later, I’m not going to give anything away, but some revelations occurred during the funeral ceremony and they just kind of wrapped themselves up magically as people were viewing the body. It just felt very incomplete. There were several characters introduced during the wake. It was like one scene for a handful of characters. It just didn’t work.
Laura: One of the bright spots in the show was the daughter of the deceased. Her name was Delightful.
Mike: She was played by Meg Yednock. She only had one word that she said the entire show. She had to express herself as a gluttonous teenager throughout the show simply by her expressions and what she was doing in the background. She did upstage people a little bit in her shadow puppet show. But I think she had a good time and I liked how she was able to do so many different things without having to say anything. I think that was pretty good.
Laura: The set for Dearly Departed was simple. Everybody brought on and off the different props pretty smoothly. they were pretty smooth transitions. The Set Designer was John Decker.
Mike: One disappointment about the set was when they were finally at the funeral home they didn’t have a coffin. They had a table. They mimed pretty well it was a coffin once you realized that. It was just a surprise not to have that.
Laura: Dearly Departed is playing through Saturday October 6th at the Greenbelt Arts Center in Geenbelt Maryland. Friday and Saturdays at 8 and Sunday matinees on the 23rd and 30th at 2 pm.
Mike: If you’ve seen this how, we’d love to hear your comments. Simply do that here at ShowBizRadio or you can email us. We’d also like to invite you to join our mailing list so you can stay informed with ShowBizRadio and what’s happening with shows in the DC metro region.
Laura: And now, on with the show.
- Clyde: Ochieng Asugo
- Veda: Sandra Cox True
- Marguerite: Erica Drezek
- Bud/Ray-bud: Mark A. Fulco
- Reverend Hooker: Mark Granfors-Hunt
- Lucille: Jenna Jones
- Raynelle: Phillis Kay
- Royce: Bob Kleinberg
- Juanita: Barbara Lambert
- Junior: Jeff Landou
- Norval/Radio Announcer: Glen Nelson
- Suzanne: Shannon Miller
- Nadine/Delightful: Meg Yednock
- Director: Lenora S. Dernoga
- Producer: Beatriz Mayoral
- Assistant Director: Rachelle Mechaly
- Stage Manager/Props: Penny Smith
- Assistant Stage Manager: Glen Nelson
- Costumes Consultant: Sarah Kendrick
- Set Design: John Decker
- Lighting Design: Tommy Zanner
- Light Operator: Sandy Irving
- Sound Design: Beatrix Whitehall
- Sound Operator: J. Patrick Riordan
- Publicity: Lenora S. Dernoga
- Program Design/Photography: Penny Martin
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/2041.
Laura & Mike Clark started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.