By: Ronnie Ruff Boston Marriage – The Actor’s Theatre Of Washington
Anyone who has loved someone and thought they might be losing them can appreciate what Boston Marriage is really about. Not so much about the witty and terribly funny barbs that fly to and fro — the play is about is love and the fear that you may be in danger of losing it. This fear takes one’s thoughts and feelings hostage, you become oblivious to the words that escape your lips. This is exactly what has happened to Anna and Claire in David Mamet’s Boston Wedding.
Kate Eastwood Norris (Anna) is advised by Jenifer Belle Deal (Claire) that she is smitten by a young woman she has met and has invited her to Anna’s home for the purpose of exploring her newly found love interest. Anna is, of course, devastated because of her feelings for Claire and resists her attempts to have her accept the tryst with cutting, sarcastic jabs that are returned by Claire with similar velocity. The only thing that gets in their way is the constant interruption by Anna’s maid (Elizabeth Simmons) whose presence is an easy target for Anna and her sharp tongue. She (Ms. Simmons) delivers one of the show’s funniest lines that I cannot utter here without butchering it — you will just have to see the show!
It is obvious from the play’s first moments that Ms. Norris and Ms. Deal are enjoying every single moment working together. They are, without doubt, comfortable in their roles — they display comic timing usually achieved only by comic teams that have worked together for years. The ease at which the cast members deliver their graceful yet finely honed arrows of incredible wit are a testament not only to their talents but also to Jeffery Johnson’s excellent direction that keeps the laughs flowing without losing the underlying themes of the play.
ATW has created a beautiful Victorian parlor in the Source space that only serves to bolster the excellent performances by the cast. Aside from the beautiful set, that is simply fantastic, there are candles, artwork and small touches of provincial style at every turn. Before the production’s start and at intermission Rachael Ann Warren and pianist Lauren Aycock-Parmenteir create some magical moments of their own with enchanting renditions of Victorian era standards.
It is such a shame that ATW stands to lose this very comfortable space that is a perfect fit for this production and the 14th street neighborhood. The space is in the process of being sold to a company that wishes to replace it with a billiards hall. Be sure to not only indulge yourself in the pleasures of Boston Marriage before it closes but also donate any time or energies you can spare to save this DC landmark from a future of alcohol and pool tables.
Contact Matty Griffiths to help with the Source cause.
Press Photo Credit to: Ray Gniewek