By: Carol Kaufman Segal for StageHappenings.com
Once again, Pacific Resident Theatre and Artistic Director Marilyn Fox brings unique and rarely produced plays to the theater. The second show of their 25th season features an evening of two plays written by J.M. Barrie, principally known for his play, Peter Pan, or, the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, written in 1904. The two plays, written within four years of each other, and definitely quite different from one another, still bare some universal theme.
The first play, Rosalind, directed by Dana Dewes, features Lesley Fera as Mrs. Page. We find her in the parlour of a charming cottage by the sea – far from London (beautiful set design by Nick Santiago). She has come there to relax from her rigorous life in London, and her thoughts of being middle-age, when her stay is interrupted by a young man, Charles Roche (Kevin Railsback). Roche has been on a walking tour and is seeking a brief moment of shelter from the rain. Coincidence has it that Roche knows of Mrs. Page’s daughter, a beautiful successful stage star, with whom he fancies himself in love. But as the story progresses, the dialogue between the two characters touches on passions, age, and what is real and what is not. It also features, alternately, Sarah Zinsser and Ann Bronston performing the role of Dame Quickly.
The second play, The Old Lady Shows Her Medals, is a more touching story that takes place in London during World War I, directed by Marilyn Fox and Dana Dewes. Mrs. Dowey (Penny Safranek) and her char women friends, Mrs. Twymley (Roses Prichard), Mrs. Mickleham (Sara Zinsser), amd The Haggerty Woman (Jennifer Lonsway), are chatting away in Mrs. Dowey’s basement home. Mrs. Dowey is reminiscing about the letters she receives from her son in the service, when Mr. Willings (William Lithgow) arrives to tell her that her son is here on a short furlough and is coming to see her. She appears a bit excited, but nervous as her friends leave. When Kenneth Dowey (Joe McGovern) arrives, the reason for her actions are apparent when it is revealed that Mrs. Dowey has no son. But the dialogue between these two lonely people (McGovern with a perfect Scottish brogue), and the outcome, present a warm and tender message. (The set change is by Nick Santiago.)
As quoted from Marilyn Fox, “J.M. Barrie’s timeless explorations of age, love, longing and the search for the “impossible possibility” are unusually provocative,” and these two plays are reminiscent of just that and beautifully dramatized by a gifted cast.