Another gem in one of Atwater Village Theater’s small venues.
By Carol Edger Germain
“To the Bone” is presented by Open Fist Theatre Company, and frankly, I have never been disappointed by any of their productions, and their record stands with this one.
Written and directed by Catherine Butterfield, the story is an explosion of humor, drama, poignancy, twists and turns (which I won’t spoil for you), performed with heart and skill by this group of actors. The initial press release sets the scene: “Sisters Kelly Moran (Tisha Terrasini Banker) and Maureen Dugan (Amanda Weier) still live on the ‘Irish Riviera’ south of Boston, where they were known as ‘hard girls’ back in high school. Now they’re readying the house for a meeting with the daughter Kelly gave up for adoption back when she was 17. But Kelly’s teenage son, Sean (Jack David Sharpe), is not so sure how he feels about that. And when Geneva (Alice Kors) shows up with her college roommate, Darcy (Kacey Mayeda), things don’t go exactly as expected.”
Having worked with many open adoption situations as a paralegal many years ago, my imagination started running, but this was a new one, and it kept my heart and emotions rolling with the revelations. The play opens with the sisters preparing for Geneva’s arrival. Kelly’s hard girl background has provided her with experience in taking control of difficult situations and standing up for herself. She’s loud/foul-mouthed, unrefined, considers alcohol a friend, and is still bothered by her crappy second marriage (but he’s dead, so at least he can’t create new crap for her to deal with). She’s also annoyed by, and at a loss to change, her taciturn teenager, Sean’s minimal communication and physical presence in family situations, whether happy, stressed, or life changing. Nevertheless, the audience does not miss the examples of her compassion, pride, and love for her family. Maureen is much more reserved and concerned with hostessing niceties, but there’s no doubt she can pull her weight in dealing with crises. Sean refuses to participate in the initial meeting, sticking it out in his room.
As expected, we’re on a whole new adventure path with the arrival of Geneva, and the first twist is that she brings Darcy, her college roommate, who is filming the entire adoptee-meets-birth-mother story as a documentary. We learn that Geneva has been adopted by a wealthy couple and learn how they have shaped her life and her emotions. The story starts its rollercoaster as a result of this meeting, and rolls through developments in a hospital, a car, a dorm room, and the sisters’ home. Very well done.
To the Bone Written and Directed by Catherine Butterfield Starring Tisha Terrasini Banker, Alice Kors, Kacey Mayeda, Jack David Sharpe, Amanda Weier Fridays at 8:00 pm: Oct. 21; Oct 28; Nov. 4 Saturday at 2:00 pm: Oct. 29 ONLY Saturdays at 8:00 pm: Oct. 22; Nov. 5 (dark Oct. 29) Sundays at 2:00 pm: Oct. 23 and Oct. 30 Atwater Village Theatre 3269 Casitas Ave Los Angeles, CA 90039 Free parking in the ATX (Atwater Crossing) lot one block south of the theater. Tickets (323) 882-6912 or www.openfist.org
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