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    2008-2009 reviews:
  • Anaïs Nin Goes To Hell
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  • Blanche Survives Katrina in a FEMA Trailer Named Desire
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  • The Longest Running Joke of the Twentieth Century
  • Lucasville: The Untold Story of a Prison Uprising
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  • Missa Solemnis, or The Play About Henry
  • Mourn the Living Hector
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  • Something Weird . . . in the Red Room
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  • Zombie

  •  REVIEW: BEAVER

      Beaver
    Beleaguer Beaver

    An orphaned little girl with no chance of growing up normal anyway names herself "Beaver" in the play of the same name about a chilly family in the frozen north.

    By JOSHUA TANZER
    Offoffoff.com


    "Let me tell you about the Jerseys," says Sima Jersey (Naomi Lynn) by way of introduction. "There are three of them — a spinster, a slut and a suicide."

    The two surviving sisters are gathered at the home of the spinster sister, Nora, after the funeral for the suicide sister, Rose. They're with their mother Edna (Judy Kranz) and the dead woman's 12-year-old daughter, Bea— . . . wait a minute, they've forgotten Beatrice! She's still at the graveyard, and since this is rural Ontario and it's 40-below, she could be dead by now.

    BEAVER
    Written by: Claudia Dey.
    Directed by: Simone Elliott.
    Cast: Kristen Cerelli, Sue Galloway, Judy Kranz, Rodney Lane Holland, Li Murillo, Jackie Payne, Tom White.
      
    Luckily, Beatrice (Kristen Cerelli) is saved and she goes to live with . . . well, which sister would you choose? (The unemployed alcoholic father is out of the question.) They choose the spinster, Nora (Jackie Payne), whose parenting skills are in line with her chilly nature. "Welcome to 44 Airport Road," she tells the girl, and orders her to set the table, which she sees as a formative experience for the young orphan. "I want you to have something that will make you feel complete and loved — and setting the table can do that!" she tells the girl. "You could be known as the girl who sets the most beautiful table in all of Timmins. Can you imagine? You'll have a reputation!"

    With this kind of loving attention, young Beatrice will have a reputation, all right, one befitting the nickname she gives herself: Beaver.

    The rest of the play follows Beaver's emergence into womanhood surrounded by her well-meaning but ineffectual family and friends. Fortunately, it looks like she's going to live happily ever after in spite of it all.

    It's an odd but endearing story told with a north-country mixture of frigid fatalism and humor. The whole cast is fine — appropriately prickly, in fact — but Sue Galloway gets the best role as a friend of the family who's always effervescent and helpful despite being dangerously nuts. And who isn't? The play feels almost like a consciousness-raising female-empowerment story, but there's not a one of the characters who isn't seriously unhinged.

    FEBRUARY 1, 2001
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK



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