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2nd Star Productions Jake’s Women

By • Sep 9th, 2010 • Category: Reviews
Jake’s Women by Neil Simon
2nd Star Productions
Bowie Playhouse, Bowie, MD
Through September 11
2:30 with one intermission
$20/$17 Seniors and Students
Reviewed September 4, 2010

Jake’s Women revolves around Jake, a novelist who is having marital problems. So when he is unable to cope with his problems he imagines conversations with the women in his life (his wife, daughter, sister, and analyst).

Overall, this was a well performed show, but the exploration that has to occur in Jake’s life and mind takes a lot of time to occur, resulting in a show-paced production, with just enough zip to keep the audience interested in what will happen with Jake. Jose De la Mar as Jake was wonderful. His anguish over losing his wife while simultaneously struggling to keep the voices in his head in check was very well done. Whenever Jake was talking with one of his women, the lights (Garrett R. Hyde) would shift, although a few times the light shift was very subtle so the audience wasn’t sure if Jake was having a conversation in his mind or real life.

Maribeth Vogel Eckenrode as Jake’s wife Maggie was desirable and quite believable as she ran a gamut of emotions. Her scene with Jake’s girlfiend Sheila (Janice Coffey) in the second act was hilarious, as Sheila couldn’t see Maggie.

Heidi Toll as Jake’s sister Karen and Adele Degnan as Jake’s analyst Edith were nicely cast. I could see the brother-sister dynamics as Toll and De la Mar bickered, while Degnan maintained a professional edge while having a small grin as she teased Jake during their “conversations.” Natalie Esteve was Jake’s first wife Julie, who was a bit of an enigma, as she grew demanding of Jake late in the play. Julie and Jake’s daughter Molly was played by Vivian Wingard and Lauren Fox. The contrast of the two emphasized how much people change over time.

The set (Jane B. Wingard) was made up of Jake’s apartment and a small park area to one side of the stage. The park area really wasn’t necessary, resulting in a somewhat cramped apartment. There was one scene that had Jake having a conversation through the wall of his study towards the apartment’s front door.

Director’s Note

Jake’s Women is 2nd Star’s fifth production adventure with the often dysfunctional, often angst-filled, always witty characters of America’s most successful playwright.

Neil Simon has always been a shrewd observer of human foibles, a master of the one-liner, and throughout the body of his work, has gotten a huge amount of mileage out of his own life experiences. Such plays as Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, The Dinner Party, Chapter Two, and this play.

Neil Simon’s comedies most often rely on vivid, often fantastical (Felix Unger) Characterizations, and seldom do earth-shattering issues or intricate plot twists appear. He is, however, more than just a master of crowd-pleasing gags; he is an observer of human nature.

But what if a playwright/observer loses himself in his god-like manipulation of his script world, foregoes participation in his own life, and begins living vicariously in his own wish-fulfilling fantasies? Enter Jake, through whom Simon seems to be saying, “I’m as confused as the rest of you.” Well, it’s easy to win an argument with yourself. You just have to practice.

I sincerely hope you enjoy our presentation of Jake’s Women.

My special thanks to this delightful cast for their superb work, Jane for putting up with me, Garrett and Pete and l for running a tight production, and the bestest Stage Manager ever!

-Charlie Maloney, Director

Cast

  • Jake: Jose de la Mar
  • Maggie: Maribeth Vogel Eckenrode
  • Karen: Heidi Toll
  • Molly (age 13): Vivian Wingard
  • Molly (Age 21): Lauren Fox
  • Edith: Adele Degnan
  • Julie: Natalia Esteve
  • Sheila: Janice Coffey

Crew

  • Director: Charles W. Maloney
  • Producer: Jane B. Wingard
  • Stage Manager/Properties: Joanne D. Wilson
  • Set Designer/Scenic Artist: Jane B. Wingard
  • Scenic Assistants: Bill Bagaria, Gail Bagaria
  • Set Construction: Steve Andrews, Joanne Wilson
  • Lighting/Sound Design: Garrett R. Hyde
  • Lighting/Sound Technician: Pete Dursin, Al Chopey
  • Costume Coordinator: Jane B. Wingard
  • Load In Crew: Garrett Hyde, Pete Dursin, Al Chopey, Jane Wingard, Joanne Wilson, Steve Andrews, Matt Andrews, Bill Davis, Stevie Mangum, Dick Russell, Marty Hayes, Gail Bagaria, Bill Bagaria
  • Publicity: Lynne Wilson, Beth Schultz, Jane Wingard, Debe Tighe
  • Webmaster: Lynne Wilson
  • House & Box office Manager: Jane B. Wingard
  • Usher Coordinator: Jane B. Wingard
  • Reservations: Jane B. Wingard
  • Reservation Assistants: Gerry Verrier, Patti Mangum
  • Photography Debe Tighe
  • Program: Lynne Wilson

Disclaimer: 2nd Star Productions provided a complimentary media ticket to ShowBizRadio for this review.

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has performed in local productions, but prefers to be behind the scenes. Mike earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association and the Online News Association.

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