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    St. Scarlet

    Ruddy and willing

    "St. Scarlet" is a biting comedy about family and sexual politics in a snowed-in Irish-American family.


    "St. Scarlet" is a thoroughly enjoyable, boisterous play dealing with subjects such as sibling rivalry, the Irish-American experience and mistaken identity.

    Company: Women's Expressive Theater.
    Written by: Julia Jordan.
    Directed by: Chris Messina.
    Cast: Michael Chernus, Rosemarie Dewitt, Ivan Martin, Susan O'Connor, Katie Dietz, Gabe Fazio, Joan Jaffry Poust.

    Related links: Official site
    Ontological Theater
    131 E.10th St.
    Previews start: June 10, 2003
    June 13 - July 12, 2003

    Set in the Minnesota home of two sisters, Ruby and Rose, and their ailing mother, the play begins as older brother Seamus is making one of his frequent visits to pick up the bills and drop off groceries. Snow is piling up outside. There's a picture of John F. Kennedy in the hutch and a shamrock sticker on the kitchen window. He chides the two sisters for not doing anything with their lives and they regard him with comtemptous indifference that borders on hostility.

    Soon after Seamus leaves, a stranger who has come all the way from Brooklyn, named Vinnie Silverstein, breaks into the house, thinking that Rose is the woman who has been writing him love letters from that address for the past two years. Although Rose owns up to having had a one-night stand with Vinnie some time ago, she didn't write the letters. Vinnie refuses to leave, Mom dies and the snow piles up as the family tries to get him to leave and argues over funeral preaprations.

    The dialogue is rollicking and very funny as the siblings bicker and dredge up the past. There is also a bit of well-placed physical comedy. Vinnie, played by Ivan Martin, has a simmering sexuality and an intensity that makes him seem exiled from a Sam Shepard play. Although all the performances are strong, the real standout is Susan O'Connor (previously seen in Never Swim Alone, See Bob Run and The Last Carburetor), who plays younger sister Ruby with fiesty energy and perky vigor.

    The pacing of St. Scarlet is excellent — nothing drags and the story picks up steam as the play moves along to its eye-opening ending. The family depicted in "St. Scarlet" puts the "fun" in dysfunctional and this play is a vibrant, raucous treat.

    JULY 13, 2003

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