Greenbelt Arts Center The Octette Bridge ClubBy Laura & Mike Clark • Apr 29th, 2008 • Category: Reviews
Listen to our review of the Greenbelt Arts Center’s production of The Octette Bridge Club [MP3 4:58 2.3MB].
Greenbelt Arts Center
Greenbelt Arts Center, Greenbelt, MD
$15/$12 Seniors and Students
Through May 17th
Mike: The Octette Bridge Club is a play by P. J. Barry. On alternate Friday evenings, eight sisters meet to play bridge, gossip and socialize. Although they appear to be right out of Norman Rockwell Americana, you’ll find that they share heaping helpings of hypocrisy and heartbreak along with the coffee cake.
Laura: This show had a wide range of acting talent on the stage. The timing was something that caused me to have trouble. It felt like the end of each act, the writer did not know how to wrap things up.
Mike: Overall the pacing of the show was uneven. There were a few scenes that really seemed to drag along. When all the sisters were together, it was interesting to see what revelation would be revealed next. Unfortunately, the sisters were very superficial and I did not care about several of the sisters. It made me wonder if we were able to look at this family 10 years later, if they would still be hanging out together and having a good time. Or would they all be bitter old women?
Laura: The youngest sister, Betsy, was played by Jenna Jones. I thought Jenna did a good job with the role. Sometimes her timing was off, but I could see in her expressions and comments and reactions to the other sisters that she just wanted to be noticed.
Mike: At the end of the first act she had an interesting scene with her sister Connie, played by Robin Davis and Ann, played by Caroline Kearney. She was begging for attention in the scene and they were not going to share the limelight with her. They chose to stay very superficial. Ann made it very apparent that she did not wish to discuss the topic, that she was scared. I liked her portrayal in that scene. At the end of the scene (which I’m not going to give away) Connie and Ann were so exasperated that they finally gave in and I think they did that pretty nicely.
Laura: The second youngest sister Lil, was played by Gail Seavey. She was very bouncy and upbeat. She always seemed to be smiling and wanted to always be playing a song or a game, trying to keep everything light, instead of reacting to some of the serious situations that were going on on stage.
Mike: The eldest sister Martha, played by Shelly Rochester, was taking over the role of the mother since their parents had passed away. She thought everyone should stay serious and not have a lot of fun. Once the other sisters finally began to open up late in the second act, Martha told a story that brought the room to a stand still. Even though she was opening up verbally to the sisters as she was taking the stage in the middle of the living room, she closed in on herself. She brought her arms close to her chest and she seemed to be trying to hide behind herself. I liked that portrayal in that scene.
Laura: The Set Designer was Erica Drezek. I thought it was an interesting set, though it was pretty simple. Since the show took place in the living room of one of the sister’s houses, you had a sofa, a couple of chairs and of course two card tables set up where the sisters played bridge. One thing that I thought was interesting in the first act they had a picture up on the wall. In the first act the picture was of the sisters’ parents which showed that they were the head of the family and the center of attention. The second act was a picture of the eight sisters taken by a reporter showing that they were the center of attention.
Mike: It was also interesting there were NO pictures of the rest of the family. Seven of the sisters were married. Most of them had children. It was WWII and so a lot of the men were off fighting in the war. Yet there were no pictures of the kids or the rest of the family anywhere. I wonder if that was conscious decision to show how self absorbed the sisters were. There was a huge plot point in the second act when the sister prayed for all the men fighting in WWII. But there were no photos of them anywhere. It was just an interesting point that the women were thinking of other yet, they were not pictured at all.
Laura: The Octette Bridge Club is playing through Saturday May 17. Fridays and Saturday at 8 pm. Sunday the 4th at 2 pm and Sunday the 11th at 7 pm at the Greenbelt Art Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The show ran two hours and fifteen minutes with one intermission.
Mike: We’d like to invite you to join our free mailing list. This will help keep you informed with community theater events in the DC Region.
Laura: And now, on with the show.
- Martha: Shelley Rochester
- Mary: Susan Harper
- Nora: Jo Rake
- Connie: Robin Davis
- Alice: Malca Giblin
- Ann: Caroline Kearney
- Lil: Gail Seavey
- Betsy: Jenna Jones
- Robert Foster: Jeff Landou
- Director: Erica Drezek
- Producer: Jo Rake
- Stage Manager: Geoff Rake
- Set Design: Erica Drezek
- Set Dressing: Elizabeth Jordan
- Light Design: Den Giblen
- Light and Sound Crew: Geoff Rake, John Smallwood, Ray Caron
- Sound Design: Jo Rake
- Set construction Crew: Geoff (Lead), John Decker, Erica Drezek, Bill Jones, John Smallwood, and cast
- Properties: Elizabeth Jordan, Jeff Landou
- Costumes: Libby Dasbach
- Hair and Make Up: Malca Giblin
- Poster/Program design: Mark A. Fulco
- House Manager: Dottie Spivacke
This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/2261.
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.