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Be A Good Little Widow
Well I loved the band at your wedding! So romantic, the slow songs — it was fortunate you found a band, so quickly! It all happened so quickly!— Hope
These days there seems to be a dirth of cute plays — sweet pieces, often with happy endings, that find a way to tie up a story neatly. At first, playwright Bekah Brunstetter seems to "write cute" — and indeed she does. But as her plays move forward, her characters become complex; her plots originally messy. And happy endings are not her M.O. Be A Good Little Widow may not be a story with closure, but it is a story with a journey, and one that tugs at the heart.
Chad Hoeppner, Wrenn Schmidt, and Jill Eikenberry
in Be a Good Little Widow
Photo: Ben Arons
Melody and Craig are newlyweds who have recently moved to the Connecticut suburbs. Craig is a lawyer who is often on the road, Melody's a young woman settling into her new life, unsure of her present and future. Craig's mother Hope (an appropriately restrained Jill Eikenberry) is judgmental of her new daughter-in-law, and the tension only increases the more Melody tries to please.
Rounding out the cast is Brad (a charmingly tongue-tied Chad Hoeppner), Craig's aimless paralegal and a seemingly kindred spirit with the young bride. As the title gives away, Melody (a truly sweet Wrenn Schmidt) is whacked with tragedy. The real meat of the play shows the characters creating coping mechanisms, as well as flashbacks showcasing memorable moments from Craig and Melody's life together.
There is generally a lot to applaud here. Bekah Brunstetter's writing is very real so that you can forget it's actually written. As such, it's a little off-kilter, a little awkward; funny and melancholy. There is a real sense of love for the content in this production. The performers are unabashedly invested. Te set and lights a lovely but take a back seat to the action. The direction by Stephen Brackett is very tender and unobtrusive.
Please, go see this play while you can (it's a short run) — and works like it. It's sensitive, sophisticated writers like Brunstetter that theater keeps losing to film & TV. But maybe if we all support the work, they'll somehow stick around.
Be A Good Little Widow|
Written by Bekah Brunstetter
Directed by Stephen Brackett
Cast: Jill Eikenberry, Chad Hoeppner, Jonny Orsini, Wrenn Schmidt
Production Stage Manager Bryan Bradford
Lighting Designer: Burke Brown
Scenic Designer: Daniel Zimmerman
Costume Designer: Jessica Pabst
Sound Designer: Bart Fasbender
Assistant Stage Manager: Catherine Anne Tucker
Ars Nova, 511 West 54th Street www.arsnovanyc.com 212 352 3101
From April 20 - May 14, opening May 2
Tuesday through Saturdays @ 8 pm,
Reviewed by Amanda Cooper based on 4/29/11 performance
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