Thursday, July 25, 2013

"House of Blue Leaves" @ The Edge Theatre

My grand daughter has 3 simple words tattooed on the back of her calf: Just a day. She explained  that no matter how bad or strange a day can turn out, it is just a day and another one will come along tomorrow. Such an uplifting Annie-way of looking at life. However, there are unforgettable days in history which changed our lives forever: December 7, 1941 (attack on Pearl Harbor); June, 6, 1944 (D-day); November 22, 1963 (assassination of John F. Kennedy); and September 11, 2001 (attack on the World Trade Center).

The play, “House of Blue Leaves,” a black comedy by American playwright John Guare, takes place on just a day in 1965. A day when the Pope Paul VI visited New York City, and where many lives of those who gathered together in an apartment in Queens were forever altered. The play won the Drama Critics' Circle Award and the Obie Award for Best American Play in 1971.

The Edge Theatre, created by Rick and Patty Yaconis, is the hippest, edgiest theater to grace Denver's performing arts culture. Located at 1560 Teller St. in Lakewood, The Edge is featuring the “House of Blue Leaves,” from July 19 to August 11, 2013. My tattooed darling and I went to see it Sunday evening and were mesmerized by the production.

How can I tell you how utterly amazing the performances were? How can I sufficiently complement each and every actor for their complex emotional dance, knowing full well the difficulty of such profound material— both humorous and heart-wrenching? Every character was played with such brilliance and balance, and I felt transported to an apartment in New York to witness the unraveling of a several humans. In my 40 years of enjoying theater (I grew up near NYC), this show goes to the top of my list. If a Broadway or Hollywood scout witnessed these fine performances, the actors would be picked up like precious plums for their future productions. This is an amazing troupe, and the Denver public should run, not walk, to take in their talent.

Missy Moore as Bananas
I want to thank each and every performer from director, Scott Bellot, to the stagehands for giving their all. Missy Moore's performance as Bananas was completely riveting. She nailed the complex reality of schizophrenia and the effects of the mind-numbing medicine. Her actions, behaviors, and gentle persona steal your heart. Tom Auclair, as Artie Shaughnessy, is perfect as her zookeeper husband, who harbors dreams of being a singer-songwriter, and most of all, to be free of his duties as Banana's caretaker. Slowly, Tom's piano playing becomes a bit off-key as he comes apart at the seams. Kelly Uhlenhoop, as Bunny Flingus, his red-headed mistress, is the much needed comic relief to the heavy psychological unwellness, as were the three lively nuns (see picture below). Zachary Page, as the son, Ronnie, plays a disturbed young soldier who brings another level of pathos to the production.

The nuns are desperate to come in. . . with Tom and Bunny
It is just a day, but a day that changes everyone. It is an unforgettable play that will have you thinking and talking, and hoping the sun will come out tomorrow. For more information go to The Edge Theatre.