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A Round-Heeled Woman
a Comedy/Drama
by Jane Prowse

COMPANY : Staged Right Theatre [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Hanarry Swim and Racquet Club [WEBSITE]
ID# 5500

SHOWING : May 10, 2019 - May 19, 2019



"A Round-Heeled Woman" is an explicit, joyful, funny, and true story about exploring sexuality at "a certain age." With her 67th birthday looming on the horizon, Jane Juska takes out an ad in the New York Book Review: "Before I turn 67, next March, I would like to have a lot of sex with a man I like. If you want to talk first, Trollope works for me." The resulting responses lead Jane on adventure of self-discovery that results in laughter, tears, and love.

Director Starshine Stanfield
Waiter/Jonah/Mr. Rubb/Sydney R. Chandler Bragg
Dance Teacher/Andy/John Ball/Graham Colton Combs
Celia/Jane’s Mother/Housekeeper/Cabbie Peggy Marx
Eddie/Jane’s Father/Robert/Mr. Maguire Jim Nelson
Jane Angela Van Tassel
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by playgoer
Monday, May 20, 2019
The action of "A Round-Heeled Woman" starts with Jane (Angela Van Tassel) touching herself during phone sex. She whispers to her phone partner that she’s alone; would she be doing what she’s doing if she had an audience? Then she turns and sees the audience attending the play, causing her to switch rapidly to narration. It’s the perfect introduction to this unabashedly sexual memoir, in which 66-year-old Jane meets man after man in response to a newspaper ad she has placed.

Upstage center is a double bed, fronted by a loveseat and flanked by end tables and bookcases. Stage right, there’s a round table with two chairs. Stage left, there’s a desk. Jeremy Beck’s set design in cluttered, but relatively functional to accommodate the wide-ranging action of the play. Kelsey Chapman’s props help populate the stage, with a lot of paper on hand to represent ad copy, letters, and a manuscript. Lea Herring’s sound design provides background sounds or music for a number of scenes, which can be just this side of distracting, while Spencer Estes’ lighting design does a splendid job of helping to set the scenes, as do the varied costumes.

Aside from Ms. Van Tassel, the other five cast members take on a variety of roles. Under Starshine Stanfield’s direction, all do well in distinguishing their various characters, although Jane’s string of male partners eventually becomes a somewhat unmanageable list. A major underpinning to Jane’s story is her admiration for lesser-known Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope, particularly his novel "Miss Mackenzie." Jane is visited by Miss Mackenzie (Toneal Alford) throughout the show, contrasting spinster Miss Mackenzie’s search for a mate with her own search for sexual fulfillment. As in "Miss Mackenzie," we get a happy ending, although it comes about in Jane’s reconciliation with her estranged son rather than in some lurid way.

"A Round-Heeled Woman" contains strong sexual content, including several rude and crude words along the way. That alone might limit the audience for this production. The biggest challenge facing audiences, though, might be the pacing of the show. Ms. Van Tassel is a splendid actress, but the line load and the many short scenes call for split-second precision, which wasn’t there on opening night. Jane’s story loses impact as the production heads on to the 2.5 hour mark.

Staged Right Theatre has a history of presenting little-known works, and "A Round-Heeled Woman" fits firmly into that category. Its next season promises more productions that will be new to most Atlanta-area audiences. Let’s hope that the new season’s productions will have broader appeal and better-paced flows. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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